2011 Update to the Report
“Forced Evictions and the Right to Housing of Roma in Russia” (2008)
The threat of forced evictions remains a reality for all Roma communities whose houses and land are completely or partially unregistered. In its activities ADC Memorial continues to encounter situations such as those presented in the Report. Where possible it takes preventive steps (such as assistance in legalizing houses and parcels of land) and responds to information regarding direct threats to particular settlements.
The recommendations regarding a ban on evictions have not been heeded. As before there is no legal prohibition on evictions and local authorities continue to rely upon the principle of “formal legality” in performing evictions and destroying unregistered houses. Roma settlements continue to be completely dependent on the local authorities. The unregistered status of houses in Roma settlements is used as one of the administrative “pressure points” on members of the community. Specifically, it is used as a means of preventing appeals to law enforcement agencies and thus functions as one of the elements of systemic discrimination against the Roma population.
Positive legal changes can be noted, including decisions rendered by the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation that protect the right of children to housing. Additionally, in several regions laws were adopted regarding the provision of parcels of land to families with many children (although their implementation with regard to Roma families has been hindered by the discriminatory attitude of the administrative system as a whole).
On the international level, the problem of forced evictions has been acknowledged as urgent and the recommendations previously developed to improve the situation have been affirmed. In the recent Strasbourg Declaration on Roma (adopted on 20 October 2010), the Council of Europe once again emphasized the importance of implementing the rights of Roma to housing and the adoption by the state of adequate measures to improve the implementation of the right to housing and effective protection from forced evictions.