UN urges Britain to halt travellers eviction

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The British government should halt the planned eviction of members of the travelling community from an unauthorised site, the UN said on Friday.

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination expressed its "deep regret" at the decision to remove the travellers from Dale Farm in Essex, eastern England, where they began settling about a decade ago.

"We call on the government to suspend the planned eviction, which would disproportionately affect the lives of the Gypsy and Traveller families, particularly women, children and older people," the committee said in a statement.

"We urge the authorities to find a peaceful and appropriate solution, including identifying culturally appropriate accommodation, with full respect for the rights of the families involved."

The group said the evictions may breach articles 2 and 5 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

"Travellers and Gypsies already face considerable discrimination and hostility in wider society and the Committee is deeply concerned that this could be worsened by actions taken by authorities in the current situation and by some media reporting of the issues," the committee said.

© 2011 AFP

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