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Radvanka Roma can restore their right to housing
Residents of 85 Uzhanski Street at the meeting with the lawyer Mykola Yatskov (in centre) and the head of the NGO "Romani Cherhen" Myroslav Horvat (right). Photo by Vested CAHR
Residents of 85 Uzhanski Street at the meeting with the lawyer Mykola Yatskov (in centre) and the head of the NGO "Romani Cherhen" Myroslav Horvat (right).

The question of the protection of the tenants’ ownership of the apartment building in the Radanka will be addressed at the city level. Roma waited for this decision for over 15 years. Such a step from the power of Uzhgorod was achieved through the help provided by lawyers of Carpathian Agency for Human Rights "Vested".

“The decision of the Executive Committee, which was published on 7 July 2016 on the website of Uzhgorod City Council, is unique. And the situation that has developed with the residents Uganski, 85, is atypical. Almost all users of 32 apartments are illegal owners for many years with the tacit consent of the executive bodies of the City Council”, commented the lawyer of the Vested CAHR Mykola Yatskov, who is engaged in this case for more than 2 years.


Mykola Yatskov, lawyer of the Vested CAHR. Photo: Facebook

It is worth noting that 32 Roma families are living in the 2-storey house located in the largest Roma settlement in Uzhgorod – without any legal documents certifying the legality of their stay in the apartments.

“Only one of the families has the tenancy agreement. However, none has or can have orders to conclude contracts of employment with the local housing office”, said Mykola Yatskov and explained that the settlement occurred not on the basis of the decision of the Executive Committee – in 1999 by the order of the mayor of Uzhgorod all the apartments were provided to flood victims of the Roma families.


Uzhgorod. Radvanka. Uzhanska Street. Photo by Vested CAHR.

Since then, more than 300 Roma are "hunging in the air" without any basic rights for the management and disposal of their assets. Despite the fact that all these years people honestly and openly own apartments, provide landscaping and garbage removal, maintain a good condition of the house to the extent possible.

“The key problem of the Roma community is the advantage of customary law over national law. But in the specific case, the problem arose because of "good intentions" of local authorities that deprived actually the residents of possibility of self-possession, use and disposal (control) of their own house”, said the lawyer.

In March 2015 defenders of the Vested CAHR in partnership with the NGO "Romani Cherhen" decided to help people legalize their ownership of housing.

In turn, in March of 2016 the residents of the house were sent to the city authorities with a petition to solve the problem.

“We are appealing to the City Council to resolve our issue once and for all. Most people honestly have been living in the house since 1999”, noted the leader of the initiative group of the tenants of 85 Uzhanski Street Roland Gazi.


The leader of the initiative group of the tenants Roland Gazi submits to the Department of Citizens the petition for the mayor of Uzhgorod. Photo by Vested CAHR.

One of the real variants of legalization of property rights of more than 300 Roma was a political decision by the Executive Committee about the issuance of orders and conclusion of contracts with residents of 85 Uzhanski Street.

And finally, the draft decision is published. It needs to be approved for several weeks.

This solution is interim, because only provides for the consent to the conclusion of treaties. However, further families will be able to finally legalize their homes.

Full text of draft decision of Uzhgorod City Council here.

The project is implemented by the Carpathian Agency for Human Rights "Vested" in partnership with the Transcarpathian Regional Roma Association "Romani Cherhen" with the support of Roma Programme Initiative of International Renaissance Foundation.


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