The Council of Europe Accuses Portugal of Violating Housing Rights of the Roma Community

The Portuguese government needs to do more to ensure housing security for its Roma population EU committee reports.

Portugal is violating the housing rights of its Roma residents, argues a report by the European Committee of Social Rights of the Council of Europe published on March 24, according to Lusa.

The report raises multiple concerns over the housing conditions Roma people face in the country: 37% of Portuguese Roma, for example, live in shanty towns or camps located throughout 70 municipalities, the news outlet reports.

 And while there have been initiatives to relodge Roma families, the report claims that re-housing programs led by city councils have largely led to “the segregation of the Roma community” and are “discriminatory” at times, Lusa reports.  

This assessment is a response to a complaint filed in 2010 that pointed out the “persistent precarious housing conditions that a large part of the Roma community” is subject to. The complaint also added that the Portuguese government had not done enough to ensure its Roma residents had their basic housing needs met.

However, the report acknowledges positive steps by the state to improve housing conditions for members of the ethnic group, such as the National Strategy for the Integration of Roma Communities developed in response to the initial complaint. Still the committee found that these initiatives have been insufficient. 

“Many people in the Roma community continue to be subject to direct and indirect discrimination and continue to live in the margins of society, sometimes in very precarious housing conditions, with a lower average life expectancy than the rest of the population, a lower level of schooling and school success, especially among girls, and higher levels of unemployment,” states the report, according to Lusa.

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