View Adopted: 2019.07.25
The author is a national of Albania of Roma origin. At the time of the communication, the author resided in Greece. In August 2014, the author and other Albanian Roma were evicted from the Riganokampos settlement in Patras. Following this, he moved to another similar settlement in Makrygianni, where he lived in a shed without electricity, sewage, garbage disposal or running water. The author was later evicted from this settlement, and he and other Albanian Roma moved to another settlement in Athens, from which he was also evicted shortly afterwards.
The mass evictions were bragged about by local authorities in local media, which following a request from the author’s counsel triggered an urgent visit from the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights. The Commissioner wrote a letter to the Greek authorities requesting clarification on the steps taken to ensure that Roma families were relocated safely. The Greek authorities did not respond.
In December 2006 the author’s counsel filed a criminal complaint with the prosecutor’s office in Patras relating to the evictions, naming the Mayor and two Deputy Mayors as defendants, alleging they had publicly boasted about their “cleaning operation” in evicting the Roma. All defendants were acquitted of the charges, on the basis that the makeshift home was constructed illegally, and at the time, the author had been away from the area for months. The Court reasoned that the was no discrimination in the removing of the makeshift home, and further that the municipality had already provided numerous rent subsidies for Roma residents in attempts to secure adequate living conditions.
On the claim of a violation of article 27, the Committee further noted that the author does not specific why he considers that the state violated his individual rights, considered in a collective dimension to enjoy his culture, profess his religion or use his language in a community group. On this basis, the Committee found this claim insufficiently substantiated and therefore inadmissible.
In assessing the authors claims under article 17, Committee recalled the concept of home within the meaning of the Covenant, referring to the place where a person resides or carries out his or her usual occupation. In this manner, the Committee recalled its jurisprudence noting that a “home” is factually dependent on whether there is a continuous, unchallenged occupation of the specific place in question – while “daily physical presence at the home is not required, an individual must demonstrate credible evidence of occupation of the home.” (See: I Elpida et al. Greece, para 12.3).
On this, the Committee considered that the author firstly had not informed the authorities that he would be vacant from the address for a number of months, and further that he had provided the authorities a different address for his residence permit. The author had further failed to establish a legal interest over the property and did not claim that there were any material belongings which were removed or damaged. The Committee noted that while the author relies on the Committee’s views in Georgopoulos et al. v. Greece, in that case the author had been born in the settlement from which they were evicted, had always lived there, and had immediately contacted municipal authorities to seek a remedy after learning of the eviction.
Finally, on the author’s claim regarding a violation of article 7, the Committee noted that the author had not provided adequate information to suggest that the authorities had subjected him to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
In light of the above, the Committee considered the communication insufficiently substantiated for the purpose of Article 2 of the Optional Protocol and therefore inadmissible.