Social & Economic rights

Monday, 20 February 2017

New Barriers to the Residents in the Informal Settlement “Cukaricka suma”

For almost a week, the residents of the informal settlement “Cukaricka suma” have not been able to enter or leave the settlement by their vehicles. Specifically, last Saturday the barriers were set at the entrances to the settlement, and prevent the vehicles from accessing the settlement. Given that residents of the settlement mainly collect secondary raw materials and that they need vehicles to transport secondary raw materials, this practically means that they have been prevented from working for almost a week, and have been living with no incomes. In addition, neither ambulance vehicles nor fire-fighters can access the settlement. 

The residents of the settlement testify that barriers were set by the Greenery Belgrade’s machinery, in the presence of police and some official persons. The Municipality of Cukarica confirmed to Praxis that they were familiar with the barriers setting, but that the Municipality did not reach the decision to set up barriers, as such decision is not in its jurisdiction. Praxis was referred to address the Belgrade City Secretariat for Social Protection, as a competent body. The Secretariat for Social Protection, however, refused to talk about this problem, but requested that Praxis deliver questions in writing. 

Praxis was told by the Municipality of Cukarica that barriers had been set to prevent entering secondary raw materials and their burning, as smoke bothers the residents of the nearby buildings. However, the fact is that residents of the settlement “Cukaricka suma” have been collecting secondary raw materials for years and that their existence depends on it. Therefore, it is clear that they collect secondary raw materials to sell and not to burn them. 

In any case, no goal can justify the violation of the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the residents of a settlement to work and freedom of movement. In addition, it is the settlement mainly inhabited by internally displaced Roma from Kosovo, who were forced to leave their homes 18 years ago and have been living in this settlement since then in the improvised housing units without any infrastructure, in full poverty and utterly inhumane conditions. Despite many-year announcement of the competent institutions and bodies that they will start solving the housing issue of the settlement “Cukaricka suma”, it still has not happened. 

Moreover, by setting the barriers at the entrance to the settlement, their position has additionally worsened, bringing them closer to the edge of survival. In that situation, the residents of the settlement are left to the risk of being without any income, and in case of an accident or a disaster without a possibility to be provided with assistance, as the barriers prevent the access of the ambulance and fire truck.

It remains an open question why the authorities failed the test of proportionality, since setting the barrier is certainly not a fair balance between the general interest of the community and protection of the fundamental rights of individuals.

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