UN Team At Dale Farm Traveller Eviction Site

A United Nations team is to visit the UK's largest illegal traveller settlement ahead of a planned eviction.

The UN Advisory Group on Forced Evictions (UNAGFE) is to hold a press conference at Dale Farm in Essex to mark the launch of its report on evictions of gypsies and travellers in the wider London area.

The visit follows a UN statement earlier this month calling on the Government to suspend the eviction.

The organisation expressed its "deep regret" over the plans, saying the move would "disproportionately affect the lives of the gypsy and traveller families, particularly women, children and older people".

In a statement, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination added: "We urge the authorities to find a peaceful and appropriate solution, including identifying culturally appropriate accommodation, with full respect for the rights of the families involved."

The clearance of Dale Farm, led by Basildon Council, is expected to begin on Monday. It follows a decade-long row over unauthorised properties on the former scrapyard.

Although half of the site is legal, more than 80 properties have no planning permission and about 400 people are said to be living there illegally.

Travellers and their supporters have promised to resist eviction without violence but police have begun preparations for major disorder.