The UN committee tasked with combating racial discrimination has voiced deep regret at the insistence by UK authorities that Gypsy and Irish Traveller families at Dale Farm should be evicted with no culturally appropriate alternative accommodation provided to them.
The event will mark the official launch of a UNAGFE Report on evictions of Gypsy and Travellers in the wider London region. The UNAGFE is chaired by Prof Yves Cabannes.
Notably, this will be taking place one day after Basildon Borough Council, according to an earlier annoucement, will be setting up its headquarters team at the Basildon Centre, for the direction of what it has named Operation Cabinet, the £18.5 million undertaking to clear half the Dale Farm Estate.
Operation Cabinet is aimed at demolishing some 52 properties which are owned by and shared between nearly 90 Traveller families.
The UN visit follows upon the statement made on 2 September by the UNCERD which called on the UK Government to suspend the planned eviction, which would disproportionately affect the lives of the Gypsy and Traveller families, particularly women, children and older people,” said members of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in a statement responding to the decision to evict the families from Dale Farm in Essex.
“We urge the authorities to find a peaceful and appropriate solution, including identifying culturally appropriate accommodation, with full respect for the rights of the families involved,” they said.
The Dale Farm issue had been extensively discussed with the UK delegation during the course of the Committee’s review of the country’s combined 18th, 19th and 20th reports of compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
In March last year, the Committee sent a letter to the UK under its Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedure on the matter, expressing its concern, seeking clarification and calling for protection of the human rights of the families.
The Committee said the evictions may be in breach of the Convention’s provisions and are inconsistent with the Committee’s General Recommendation No. 27 (2000) on Discrimination against Roma.
“Travellers and Gypsies already face considerable discrimination and hostility in wider society and the Committee is deeply concerned that this could be worsened by actions taken by authorities in the current situation and by some media reporting of the issues,” the Committee added.