Pavee Point Statement on Dale Farm Eviction

This statement was released to media on the morning of 20 October 2011

Pavee Point notes reports of violence upon the eviction of the Dale Farm Travellers site in Essex.  We are concerned that the Essex Police has used heavy handed tactics, with reports of two people electrocuted using Tazers in controvention of the ACPO guideline that Tazers not be used in a public order situation.

It was right and necessary to challenge and resist the decision of the council, because it was clear that the council had legal and ethical questions to answer surrounding the eviction; they still have ethical questions to answer.  The council does not have the interests of the Traveller community in mind when making this eviction.

Whilst we strenuously disagree with the decisions taken by Basildon Co. Council on the eviction of the site, we note that the decision has been tested in the courts of the United Kingdom. The closure of Dale Farm as a Traveller site is now inevitable. The end result is iniquitous and further proof of the disadvantage faced by Travellers, but we feel strongly that violence at the site will do nothing to improve the lot of the Travellers involved.

Pavee Point agrees with the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination that it is important that the eviction is carried out with the fullest of respect for international human rights standards – and we are concerned that initial reports suggest it is not.

We agree with the sentiments of the Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell:

“…this eviction does not solve the problem but moves it somewhere else.

These families are going to have to sleep somewhere tonight. What is needed is a national solution to provide travelling communities with stable, permanent and, if they wish, settled sites so that their culture and community can be maintained and flourish within the law.”