20th January 2006


Dear Mr Buckley,

We write with grave concern to you and the Development Control Committee of Basildon Council with regard to the Dale Farm community.

In view of the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott Proposing that an alternative site is provided at Pitsea, will the Committee please consider postponing the enforced action against Dale Farm until full consideration of the Pitsea site, including a planning appeal, has been given?

Our fear is if bulldozers are sent in to destroy 90 homes, women and children will be injured and for this reason we oppose the use of force and also the use of private bailiffs of dubious reputation.

Under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which the UK is a party since 1976, all residents regardless of race, gender or ethnicity have the right to adequate housing, and a right to be free from fear of eviction.

In fact, the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, the human rights body that oversees the implementation of the Covenant, has determined that any forced evictions may be considered a prima facie violation of the obligation under the Covenant.

Furthermore the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (to which the UK is also a party since 1976) protects the right to property, and against any arbitrary interference with that property. A number of other international covenants and treaties protect State¹s residents from eviction, and guarantee their rights to security and dignity.

These rights are further enumerated in various regional human rights instruments, including the Revised European Social Charter 1996.

Article 31 explicitly protects the right to housing; Article 16 protects the right to family life through the provision of housing.

Additionally, the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, under Article 8, prohibits interference with the right to respect for a person¹s private and family life, including their home.

These rights are to be guaranteed and protected by state parties, again, without distinction as to race, ethnicity, gender or any other classification.

Additionally the State party, no matter which level of government, has a duty to protect residents from actions, which violate human rights carried out by third parties.

We furthermore urge you Mr Buckley and the Development Control Council to ensure all the above rights are upheld in dealing with the residents and planning applications of Dale Farm.

Yours truly

Catherine Beard
Project Co-Coordinator
UK delegate to the
European Roma and Travellers Forum

Members of the Gypsy & Traveller Law Reform Coalition
Winners of the Liberty
Award For Justice and Human Rights