The only thing necessary for the persistence of evil is for enough good people to do nothing

Urgent Action: Forced Evictions

I have posted the main body of the appeal here but you can download the full pdf here



At least 11 Roma families face forced eviction from their homes on a landfill site on the island of Lefkada in Greece, and have been subjected to other violations of their rights to adequate housing and health. The families have lived on the site with no access to electricity, sewerage and water connections for the past three years, following their forced eviction from another site close to Lefkada city, the capital of the island.

At least 11 families, including many children, face forced eviction as the Lefkada authorities have decided to redevelop the landfill site. There has been no consultation with the Roma community, who were reportedly only informed orally by the local authorities around three weeks ago that they should move. However, they have not been given any official offer of adequate alternative accommodation. There was reportedly only an unofficial offer for the families to move to pre-fabricated houses closer to the landfill site, which the community do not consider adequate.

The redevelopment of the landfill site began a few days later, and the construction company hired by the local authorities are dumping waste into the settlement where the Roma families were living. Living conditions there are now unbearable due to the terrible smell emanating from the garbage dumped next to their homes and the presence of rats and flies. Fearing for their health and that of their children, most of the families have to abandon their homes for many hours of the day and they are currently sleeping in their cars in a car park close to the site.

PLEASE WRITE in Greek or your own language calling on the Mayor and Council of Lefkada to:

Immediately stop the construction company from dumping waste into the settlement, to clean up the area and to guarantee the right to an effective remedy and reparations, including compensation, to the affected families;

To halt any attempts to forcibly evict the community and instead to hold a genuine consultation with the Roma community to explore all feasible alternatives to evictions;

Remind them that forced evictions are prohibited under international and regional human rights treaties, that Greece is a party to, that evictions should only be undertaken as a last resort all and only after all necessary legal and procedural safeguards are in place, including genuine consultation, prior adequate notice, access to legal remedies, provision of adequate alternative accommodation and compensation for all losses;

Provide emergency relief including food, water, temporary adequate alternative accommodation and access to medical assistance to the affected families as necessary;

In consultation with the community, develop a plan to provide adequate alternative accommodation, to all those affected, which complies with international human rights standards on housing including ensuring that houses are not located next to pollution sources which threaten the right to health of the inhabitants, and with access to safe drinking water, electricity, sewage connections and other essential infrastructure.


Vassileios Fetsis
Mayor of Lefkada
Town Hall
Angelou Sikelianou and N. Svoronou
31100 Lefkada
Fax: + 30 26450 23353
Salutation: Dear Mayor

Prokopis Pavlopoulos
Minister of Interior
Ministry of Interior
Vas. Sofias 15
10674 Athens
Fax: + 30 210 69297 64
Salutation: Dear Minister


Konstandinos Aravanis
Prefecture of Lefkada
I. Mela 3
31100 Lefkada/Greece
Fax: + 30 26453 60720
Salutation: Dear Prefect

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives of Greece accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

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  1. Madonna Defends the Roma
    August 28, 2009    

    DD, as a great supporter of the Roma, I thought you’d be pleased to see that Madonna also shares this cause and was booed in Romania for defending them. Good for Madonna, maybe if more Hollywood celebrities took up their cause, it could help.

  2. August 28, 2009    

    Thank you for the link. I received it from several people and I will write something in response very soon.