NEWS

EU to rule on Roma, again

Greece is to face the European Court of Human Rights once again, accused of violating the rights of hundreds of Roma who have been homeless since their eviction from a makeshift settlement in the central Athens district of Votanikos in June 2007. A complaint lodged with the court this week by the Greek Helsinki Monitor, a nongovernmental rights group, accuses authorities of turning a blind eye to the eviction of the Roma and subsequently ignoring requests for their rehousing. The group claims that its appeals to police and an Athens prosecutor to stop the eviction had been ignored. It maintains that authorities also ignored a similar appeal by a private company into whose building in Kolonos some of the Roma had moved after their eviction. The organization also condemns Greece for failing to make use of European Union funding to improve housing for thousands of Roma living in Greece. The Strasbourg-based court is due to issue its judgment on the complaint this fall. Out of 440 cases involving Greece, the court has issued guilty verdicts in 431, or 98 percent.