Gypsy, Roma and Traveller rights

Liberty supports Gypsy, Roma and Traveller rights in court

Posted on 10 Dec 2020

  • Member of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community challenges Government in court
  • Liberty intervenes to support rights of entire Community
  • Planning regulations are serious threat to Gypsies, Roma and Travellers

Liberty is fighting to support the rights of Gypsy and Roma Traveller Communities in the Birmingham Planning Court.

In a hearing held 10-11 December, a member of the Gypsy and Roma Traveller Community is taking on the Government to argue that changes to planning rules around proposed Gypsy and Traveller sites are discriminatory.

In 2015, the Government changed the definition of “Gypsies and Travellers” under its planning policy for Traveller sites, to only include people who live a nomadic lifestyle. This means that people who have stopped travelling, either because they choose not to or are unable to, are denied the ethnic status of Gypsies and Travellers. This has the knock-on effect of forcing Gypsies and Travellers  to either live a lifestyle at odds with their ethnic and cultural identity or homelessness.

Liberty has intervened to argue that the definition breaches anti-discrimination laws, the UN’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, and is unjustified.

Liberty lawyer Rosie Brighouse said: “We all want to have our way of life respected and everyone in the UK should be able to live free from discrimination including Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. In Britain we have laws that are meant to ensure everyone is protected from unfair treatment.

“However, these laws becoming meaningless if such blunt bureaucratic changes to regulations are allowed.

“The Government must change the policy to preserve the principles of anti-discrimination protected by law. It’s critical that the rights of all Gypsy, Roma and Travellers and their way of life are respected which is why Liberty has intervened in this important case.”

Earlier this year, in another case won by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities in which Liberty intervened, the Court of Appeal found these communities have an “enshrined freedom not to stay in one place but to move from one place to another.” Enabling caravan living is essential to respecting this freedom.

Contact the Liberty press office on 020 7378 3656 / 07973 831 128 or


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