Dobri Jeliazkov case: Preventing forced eviction in Bulgaria

Building on jurisprudence created by staff of the GI-ESCR since 2005 that opened avenues for enforcing housing rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in July 2001 the Human Rights Committee issued its first ever injunction order against threatened forced eviction.  Specifically, the Committee issued the order to protect the impoverished Roma community of Dobri Jeliazkov in Sofia.  The order came at the request of the GI-ESCR which filed a complaint with the Committee on behalf of the Dobri Jeliazkov community and its local advocate the Equal Opportunities Initiative.  The complaint successfully argued that, if the forced eviction is carried out, it would be in violation of Bulgaria’s legal obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  The injunction resulted in the national government preventing the municipal government from carrying out the forced eviction, which was to occur in early July 2011.

As a member of ESCR-Net, the GI-ESCR successfully reached out the others in the ESCR Network to generate a letter writing campaign calling on the Bulgarian authorities to abide by their international human rights obligations and not forcibly evict the Dobri Jeliazkov community.

On 12 November 2012, the Human Rights Committee issued its final decision on the merits.  Providing the Dobri Jeliazkov community the remedy they sought, the Committee issued a permanent injunction against eviction until alternative adequate housing was provided to the community.  The Committee also stated that this decision applied to similar situations, thereby providing broader systemic impact across Bulgaria.

For more information on this case, see HERE.

Thank you very much for all your help! We are very happy with the success! Thank you also for putting so much efforts and giving so much of your time for this case. The small community concerned asked me to please send you their sincere thanks and to assure you that they highly appreciate your help.
— Daniela Mihailova, Equal Opportunities Initiative
I also wanted to inform you that the Mayor of Vuzrajdane sub-district of Sofia (Dobri Jelyazkov case) just secured alternative municipal housing for theRoma living there.  They now have beautiful apartments as municipality’s tenants.  Please accept our and community members’ warm thanks for everything you did for them!
— Best regards, Equal Opportunities Initiative Association team