Provide alternative housing for Roma in Vojvodina Street

Coalition Against Discrimination and partner organizations demand that the city authorities immediately provide alternative accommodation for 36 Roma whose homes were in Vojvodjanska 25 city government began to break down this morning (October 7, 2010.) at 10h. Although the family had previously requested to provide temporary accommodation, this is not done and the demolition of houses is today, and residents are now on the streets, including 12 children.

The first attempt to the eviction and demolition of their homes took place on September 28th 2010. in 10.45, at the request of the Directorate of building land and construction of Belgrade. This property is assigned to a group 2003 for temporary use after the family emigrated from Dorćol from barracks in the so-called Betonjerka settlement. After the reaction of the domestic public, the Directorate has then dropped from eviction.

This morning, workers hired by the Directorate began demolition in Vojvodjanska 25, with the assistance of police. Representatives of the Centre for Social Welfare were also present, but the requested to enable them alternative accommodation for the children but they were answered that "it is better to remain silent, lest their children will be taken away." Representatives of the Coalition against discrimination have followed the whole procedure of house demolition and to ensure in the identity cards of residents stands address as a permanent residens.

Coalition against discrimination calls the city of Belgrade and the Serbian government to comply fully with the task to come under the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which guarantees the right to housing, including alternative care in cases of eviction. We expect that the citizens affected by this and any future eviction be pre-disposed, in a manner that is provided by the comments 4 and 7 of the Committee of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Coalition against discrimination requires urgent provision of alternative accommodation, to end the practice of emigration of families where this accommodation is not provided. The city authorities should not deny human dignity, justifying it with the need for infrastructure construction in Belgrade. This is unacceptable behavior and justification of power was already present at the eviction of Roma from the settlement "Belvil".

Members of the Coalition against discrimination are Center for Advanced Legal Studies, Civil Rights Defenders, Labris - Lesbian Rights, Anti-Trafficking Centre, the Network Committee for Human Rights (CHRIS network), the Student Association with disabilities, PRAXIS, Regional Center for Minorities and Gayten LGBT.

Statement is supported also by partner organizations:

  • The Youth Initiative for Human Rights
  • The Fund for Humanitarian Law
  • Center for Cultural Decontamination
  • Belgrade Center for Human Rights
  • Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia
  • Women in Black
  • LINET,
  • Center for Development of Civil Resources from Nis
  • Integration Initiative (IFI), Vranje
  • Resource Centre-Belgrade

For more information: Goran Miletic
legal adviser for Human Rights, Civil Rights Defenders,
063/250-433 or goran.miletic@civilrightsdefenders.org

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