Defend Dale Farm families!

July 5, 2011 at 4:06 pm (Anti-Racism, Civil liberties, Human rights, Jim D, travellers)

Eviction notices have been served to 51 traveller families on the Dale Farm
site in Essex, sparking a call for activists to help defend their homes.
Basildon Council has served the notices which give them until the end
of August to leave Dale Farm, which was first occupied in 2001.

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Travellers at  the site, thought to be the largest “illegal” encampment in Europe and home to
around 400 people, have offered to leave peacefully if alternative plots are
provided for them.

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The cost of enforcing the eviction has been put at more
than £10 million, with finance coming from the Home Office, Essex Police,
Basildon Council and the Department for Communities and Local Government and
others.

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Instead of persecuting a minority community, they could spend the
money protecting jobs and services, and help integrate the travelling community
into society instead of demonising them as scroungers and criminals.

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Activists are being urged to join a resistance activity weekend on
Saturday July 9, which will include sessions on legal observer training,
discussions with residents and other resistance activity workshops.
A call-out has also been made for supporters to join Camp Constant on Friday July 29

To find out more about Dale Farm and how you can help visit http://dalefarm.wordpress.com or search on Facebook for Dale
Farm Solidarity.

H/t: William Lodge

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Support the travellers of Dale Farm!

May 11, 2011 at 12:00 am (Anti-Racism, Civil liberties, Human rights, Jim D, travellers)

From Vicki M:

Ratstars & Dale Farm Solidarity Network
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INFO-NIGHT BY CANDLE LIGHT with MUSIC…Wednesday 18th May, 7.30pm at Ratstars, 298 Camberwell Road, Camberwell Green, SE5 0DL. Dale Farm is the largest ‘unauthorised’ Gypsy & Traveller site in the country. Hear how Basildon Council, in Essex, is prepared to spend upwards of £8 million to evict the people of Dale Farm from their own land.
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Hear how the people of Dale Farm are determined not to be moved.
Find out how YOU can get involved in supporting the resistance of Dale Farm.

Residents of Dale Farm will be speaking.
We will also have a speaker to talk about the repression of Roma/Gypsy/Traveller people across Europe.
We have Gypsy and Traveller instrumentalists and singers.

The candle-light is not simply for romantic effect but is the result of a visit from the local constabulary a few weeks ago. But Ratstars Wednesday cafe should be open providing healthy vegetarian and vegan FOOD for a tiny price.

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Stop Basildon evicting Roma and Travellers!

August 21, 2010 at 6:52 pm (Anti-Racism, Civil liberties, Human rights, Jim D, travellers)

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URGENT: Stop the evictions from Dale Farm!

Dear Friends,

More than 20 families living in chalets, mobile-homes and caravans at Hovefields Drive, nearby the largest Romani Gypsy and Irish Traveller community in the United Kingdom, Dale Farm, Essex County, are facing imminent forced eviction. The families received a 28-day notice issued by Basildon District Council to vacate their pitches and leave by 31 August or otherwise face eviction by the bailiff Company Constant and Co. Six families were evicted from Hovefields Drive community on 29 June, when the bailiff company, acting as agents of the Basildon Council, arrived at the site in the early hours of the day accompanied by Essex police officers and gave occupants one hour to pack up and leave. Heavy digger machines dig up the six plots where there was no-one living at the time as the families were travelling.

No previous notice of this work had been given and a utility unit used as a lavatory was demolished. Children were able to move freely about the sites shortly before the utility was demolished by a heavy digger. Health and safety regulations were totally ignored during the eviction operation and the police did nothing to guarantee compliance with human rights law although a meeting between senior police officers, the Dale Farm Housing Association and the Essex Human Rights Clinic had taken days before the eviction. Those families who were travelling cannot return to their plots because Basildon District Council obtained a court injunction that prevent them to do so. No alternative accommodation was offered, no compensation for the destruction of utilities was paid, and these families are now homeless.

In the case of Dale Farm, approximately 1,000 people have been residing on the estate for more than seven years, including many children. The community has been resisting forced evictions attempts by Basildon District Council since May 2005 when it voted to clear a large part of the settlement. Although all residents hold land ownership titles, sections of the site had no planning permission and Basildon Council has subsequently refused all attempts to regularise the situation, preferring the enforcement option.

In March 2010 the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) issued a letter urging the UK Government and its institutions to consider suspending any planned eviction until an adequate solution is achieved, with the meaningful participation of the community to guarantee protection of their housing rights, including the provision of adequate alternative accommodation (www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/UK_12.03.2010.pdf).

Basildon Council has offered nothing but brick and mortar houses or apartments, which are unsuitable for Gypsies and Travellers. Furthermore, the Council has refused to engage in conversations with the community.

The new UK Coalition Government has cancelled the central funding of much-needed new caravan parks for nomadic Gypsies and Travellers and removed the requirement to designate land for their accommodation. Many thousands of Gypsy families are thus forced to live illegally on land they have purchased but where they have been denied through strict planning laws to set up permanent homes. Thus another generation of Gypsies and Travellers are in danger of losing the chance of a regular education, while the old and the sick are deprived of the care and medical attention.

The wishes of the residents are to remain where it is and not to be split up. There is a strong communal ethic, with the elderly being cared for by the younger generation and small children protected. Gypsies and Travellers feel that having lost the possibility to follow the old nomadic life-style, it is essential to the preservation of their culture and ethnicity to keep Dale Farm and Hovefields communities intact. In line with the Housing Act 1996, it is incumbent on the BDC to consider the claim of the occupants to not be evicted as the families threatened with forced removal have no place to go.

The community is therefore seeking your support to urge the Basildon Council to:

● Put on hold the imminent forced eviction of Hovefields community and the planned eviction of Dale Farm, and engage in meaningful consultation discussions with the residents and their representatives for the purpose of seeking to achieve an amicable solution;

● Consider both the possibility of a) issuing planning permission to allow their permanent residence on their present properties; or b) utilising the € 4 million set aside for the eviction to provide an alternative area to which the residents can relocate;

● Respect and protect the housing, property and family rights of the Gypsy and Traveller communities, in particular the rights of the children.

Suggested action

Please send an appeal letter by e-mail or fax to the addresses listed below requesting the Basildon Council to stop the eviction. Sample letters and further background here.

Basildon District Council

Mr. Bala Mahendran, Chief Executive

Basildon Centre

St. Martins Sq, Basildon, SS14 1DL, UK

Tel:+44 1268 533333

bala.mahendran@basildon.gov.uk

 

CC:

Department for Communities and Local Government

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles

Zone 7/J9

Eland House

Bressenden Place

London SW1E 5DU

gypsies@communities.gsi.gov.uk

Contactus@communities.gsi.gov.uk

Commission for Equalities and Human Rights

Mr. Sean Risdale

Policy Advisor,

3 More London, Riverside Tooley Street

London, SE1 2RG

Tel: +44.20 3117 0235

Sean.Risdale@equalityhumanrights.com

BCC:

Essex Human Rights Clinic

Email: losori@essex.ac.uk

Dale Farm Housing Association

dale.farm@btinternet.com

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