Government led forum ‘needed to protect Travellers rights’

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Wednesday, July 10th, 2019
Community

One year on from the Human Rights Commission investigation into Travellers’ Accommodation not enough has been done by public authorities to improve the lives of Travellers in Northern Ireland.

This is the findings of a twelve month progress report published by the Commission.

 

 

Chief Commissioner Les Allamby commented, “Twelve months on from the Commission’s report into Travellers’ accommodation progress has been mixed. Significant progress has been made on a number of fronts. 

“Nonetheless, much more is needed to be done collectively by public authorities to bring Travellers’ accommodation in line with human rights standards.

“We welcome the active participation of the housing associations, government departments, public authorities, Traveller support groups and Travellers themselves in the Travellers’ Accommodation Forum set up by the Commission.

Les continued, “The Commission will continue to support an interim Forum until a wider Travellers’ forum is set up through The Executive Office, under its Racial Equality Strategy. This interim Forum will continue to focus on the delivery and maintenance of quality and culturally adequate Travellers’ accommodation in Northern Ireland.

 

 

“The practical implementation of issues such as design guides for Travellers sites, model site licence conditions and Travellers accommodation needs assessments through to their completion will be ultimate litmus test of seeing a sea change in providing effective provision.

“Whilst the lack of an Executive is a cause of many of our recommendations not being implemented, today’s report highlights that it is not an excuse for many others. Our fear remains that without a sharp and continuing focus on the issue public authorities will again leave Travellers ‘out of sight, out of mind’. We cannot afford for that to occur once more,” Les added.

The report identifies positive steps this year by public authorities which include: NI Hosing Executive has agreed to the inclusion of accommodation options specific to Travellers within the Housing Solutions and Support application form; The Housing Executive have confirmed that to date no evictions have taken place from any Travellers’ site in NI Housing Executive ownership; and all local Councils are now active members of the NI Local Government Partnership on Travellers Issues.

 

 

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