Basildon Council defies EU plea with new Dale Farm eviction plans

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Displaced Dale Farm Travellers face a new round of evictions by Basildon Council. Following forcible eviction from their own land in October 2011, the 83 homeless families – including 100 children – have moved onto the private road leading to their former home and onto the adjoining Crays Hill site. Basildon Council issued new enforcement notices to the families last month, which have now expired, opening the way for a further eviction in the near future. [1]

This directly contravenes the public letter from Thomas Hammarberg, EU Commissioner for Human Rights, in February this year, in which he urged Eric Pickles, Minister for Communities and Local Government, “to ensure that an end be put to violations of the right to adequate housing of Travellers in Basildon”. He called the eviction in October  “highly regrettable”. [2]

International concern has been widespread, with the UN and Amnesty International both condemning the original eviction.[3] Last week, as part of ‘Roma Nation Day’, a global day of protest against discrimination towards Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities, Roma activists in Romania held up flags declaring ‘We Support Dale Farm’ [see photo].[4]

Roma Activists in Romania hold a banner saying 'We Support Dale Farm' as part of Roma Nation Day.

Dale Farm resident and mother of three, Mary O’Brien, said today, “Tony Ball knows that we have nowhere else to go. He says he’s offered us council housing, but what kind of option is that? It would be the death of our Travelling culture, the death of our community. The last eviction was terrible, I never want me or my kids to go through anything like it again – but we don’t have any other options but to stay now. I’m absolutely terrified by the idea of another eviction.”

This Saturday, Dale Farm Travellers, local residents and supporters from the Traveller Solidarity Network are planning a ‘day of action’ in Basildon town centre to build local support against the eviction, with leafleting, a petition and street theatre. [5]

Annie Murray, a Wickford resident, said, “Basildon Council have acted disgracefully, spending millions of pounds making all these families homeless. That’s not what I paid my council tax for and I think a lot of people are angry about the senseless waste of money in these tight times. There’s an election coming up and it is absolutely essential now that settled people support the Dale Farm community and stand up against the prejudice and ignorance of Tony Ball’s Tory Council. This whole community deserves better, settled and travelling.”

[3] http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=19665.

[4] For more information on Roma Nation Day, see:

http://travellersolidarity.org/2012/04/09/london-roma-nation-day/

[5] For more information on Saturday’s day of action, see:

http://travellersolidarity.org/2012/04/04/day-of-action-in-basildon-saturday-14th-april/

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One Response to “Basildon Council defies EU plea with new Dale Farm eviction plans”
  1. Gerry Oates says:

    Friends:the Council of Europe is meeting :Brighton Conference Center:April 18/20.GB is in the chair.The delegates will all be aware of GB ignoring commissioner HAmmaberg’s advice and a good thing would be if Dale farm Placards were outside the building..Well done.Lots of info on Council of Europe’website in luding the exchange of letter with GB Minister,Pickles

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