Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Plea for the Urgent Provision of Assistance to Residents of Informal Settlement “Cukaricka suma”

On 4 November 2014, Praxis with support of the Standing Conference of the Roma Associations on the Citizens (SKRUG) and Network of Organizations for Children of Serbia (MODS), which gathers 95 CSOs, sent a plea to the Commissariat for Refugees and Migrations to provide urgent assistance to the residents of the informal settlement “Cukaricka suma” by giving them firewood.

The reason to address the Commissariat was a recent protest organized by the citizens of the settlement “Cukaricka padina” against the residents of the nearby informal settlement “Cukaricka suma” for “the problems they have with the residents of informal settlement” because they are endangered by carcinogenic smoke coming from burning tires, cables and other secondary raw materials in that settlement.

Unfortunately, we have been witnesses of widely spread discrimination against the Roma, and numerous incidents that marked the previous period. We particularly point at violence and racial attacks at the residents in Resnik and Kamendin against which Praxis has already reacted together with other CSOs. Having that in mind, we express concern for the residents of the settlement “Cukaricka suma” as we find that protests are a serious violation of piece and safety of the residents of the settlement.  

Praxis repeatedly, independently and in presence of numerous delegations, visited this settlement in order to provide free legal aid to residents of the settlement in procedures for exercise of status and socioeconomic rights, so that we have an insight into the situation in the field both from the aspect of the access to rights and in regard to living conditions of the residents of the settlement.

The residents of the informal settlement “Cukaricka suma” are Roma, mainly internally displaced persons from Kosovo. Last year Praxis addressed the Commissariat for Refugees and Migrations and Municipality of Cukarica related to the problem caused by the lack of firewood. The Commissariat for Refugees and Migrations responded to Praxis request for access to information of public importance where the Commissariat was requested to deliver data on the type of service, especially firewood, which the Commissariat had given to the residents of the settlement “Cukarica suma” since 2006. It was said in the response that in the period from 2010 to 2013 “the resident of the settlement were not allocated any assistance in purchase of firewood”, and in the next letter it was said that in the period from 2006 to 2009 the Municipality of Cukarica was “not allocated any funds for the assistance in purchase of firewood”.

A few hundreds of internally displaced persons from Kosoovo have been living in this settlement for more than 15 years, in improvised housing without any infrastructure, in conditions that can be described as utterly inhumane. Almost without any exception, those are unemployed persons, and a significant number of them has not managed to obtain personal documents, and most often they live from collecting secondary raw materials and have no means to purchase standard fire wood. After 15 years, there is still no indication of finding a durable and sustainable housing solution for these persons. Although the citizens who protest pointed out that carcinogenic smoke affected their healthy and the health of their children, it is obvious that the health of the residents of the settlement of “Cukaricka suma” actually suffers the most, including a large number of children many of whom do not have health booklets.

We are aware of the fact that in order to solve the problems of the residents of the informal settlement “Cukaricka suma” and find a durable and sustainable solution for the housing problem, it is necessary to include all relevant actors. Therefore, we addressed the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration to take measures and activities that are within its competence, and in cooperation with relevant institutions and state bodies to ensure that solving of the housing issue of the residents of this settlement will be soon on the agenda, and as urgent assistance to provide them with firewood.

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Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action