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Roma from Surte village become owners of their houses

Successful experience can be a powerful tool for further community development. Ivan Horvat from Surte village was the first to receive a certificate of ownership for his house. After that, eleven Roma families turned to local Community Law Center with same request: they wanted to become official owners of their property.

Volodymyr Navrotskiy, the Center’s lawyer and head of Carpathian agency for human rights “Vested”, took responsibility for these cases. He helped Ivan Horvat and he was ready to help eleven Roma families. He decided to put some order in houses’ papers, where people have been living for 25 years without legal registration.

It was not an easy thing to do. He collected documents with difficulties. Some families didn’t have any paper at all. Some people wanted to rebuild their houses and brought pictures and architectural designs. In all cases, Volodymyr Navrotskiy and representatives of Surte village council analyzed the situation step by step. They helped people collect requested documents. Afterwards, these documents were transferred to the Registration service.

On 14 October 2014 all Roma families from Surte obtained their certificates of ownership and became legal owners of their houses. It was an important event for Roma as now they became part of the village community. They can register themselves as residents. Furthermore, they will be able to vote, get access to medical and educational services, receive social benefits etc.

Additional Information: Community Law Centers which provide free legal aid for Roma people are established with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation within the framework of “Roma of Ukraine” programme initiative. You can learn more on the Centers network activities, basics and principles of work here: www.legalspace.org

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