Only hours after a UN agency launched an urgent plea for a freeze on plans to bulldoze Britain’s biggest traveller community, Dale Farm residents learnt that the House of Lords has refused to hear their appeal. Lawyers acting for Dale Farm say the case may now go to the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. But with a likely two year wait before the court could rule on the matter, it will be necessary to seek a prolonged protection from eviction.
Permission was refused on the 14th May “because the petition does not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance which ought to be considered by this House at this time, bearing in mind that the cause has already been the subject of judicial decision and reviewed on appeal.” Just before the decision by the Lords, Brazilian lawyer Leticicia Osorio, who has visted Dale Farm as part of a delegation from UN Habitat, presented the peliminary findings of the mission at meetings in the Houes of Lords organised by Lord Avebury. UK local councils should not only stop evicting Gypsies and Travellers but also refrain from criminalizing those living on their own land without planning authorization she stated.
The preliminary report suggests that the UK through its failure to curb the racially-motivated harassment of its Gypsy population is in contravention of human rights legislation. It states there is undeniable evidence of de facto exclusion from accommodation, education and welfare provision, leaving thousands of families homeless
and without medical care. After an expected endorsement by UN Habitat next month, the recommendations will be officially presented to Downing Street.
The UN mission organizer Joseph Jones confirmed that members of the UN Mission would be present as observers should an attempt be made by bailiffs to force their way up the private Oak Lane approach to Dale Farm for the purpose of destroying homes there. Several hundred supporters have already pledged to join Dale Farm residents in forming a human shield to stop bulldozers reaching their recently-built social centre and chapel, as well as the l32 chalets, mobile-homes and caravans that comprise the estate.
Meanwhile, Basildon District Council has yet to consider the homeless applications submitted by over 90 Dale Farm households. They include a joint homeless application seeking to be re-accommodated together as a community.
Bristol No Borders are one of the groups that has pledged to support Dale Farm families in helping to resist the eviction. For more information on how you can get involved. please email us at bristolnoborders(at) riseup.net