Social & Economic rights

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Skadarska: Roma Families in the Street




We strongly condemn the lack of adequate response by the Secretariat for Social Welfare of the City of Belgrade, which ignored the requirements for the provision of adequate alternative accommodation to Roma families with children from Skadarska Street. These families were left in the street yesterday. The residents of 55 Skadarska Street spent the last night in city parks and the Drop-In Center for Street Children provided the overnight accommodation to the children.

We point out that 22 civil society organizations jointly addressed the competent city authorities and tried in vain to arrange the meeting and cooperation with the Secretariat for Social Welfare.

On 20 July 2011, the residents of Skadarska Street addressed the Secretariat for Social Welfare of the City of Belgrade with the request for urgent provision of adequate accommodation because they were facing the forthcoming forced eviction scheduled for 27 July 2011. As city authorities did not respond to this request, the activists of human rights organizations achieved an agreement with the proxy of the owner of the facility on the forced eviction day and managed to postpone the forced eviction by 15 days in order to find the solution for the accommodation of these families in the meantime. However, all that these families were offered by the competitive authorities was immediate cash assistance, separation of families and accommodation of children older than three in social welfare institutions, and one-way tickets to the place of residence for the family which was not from Belgrade.

Particularly worrying is the fact that competitive authorities ignored the plight of the woman survivor of domestic violence. That woman was offered a one-way ticket to the place of her permanent residence registered at the perpetrator’s address.

We again point out that the international documents in the human rights area, primarily International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which is binding on the Republic of Serbia, guarantee the right to housing and provision of the alternative accommodation in cases of forced eviction. The result of forced evictions should not be homeless people who are additionally exposed to violations of other human rights.

The responsibility for the violation of human rights of the residents of 55 Skadarska Street and violation of the international obligations in the field of human rights, which are obliging on the Republic of Serbia, shall be fully borne by the competent authorities of the City of Belgrade. Therefore, we demand that the competent city authorities urgently provide the adequate alternative accommodation to families from Skadarska Street and cease the practice of forced evictions, which is fully contrary to international standards on the right to housing.

Organizations signing the statement:

1. Praxis
2. Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights – Yucom
3. Regional Centre for Minorities
4. Women in Black
5. Centre for Advanced Legal Studies
6. Youth Initiative for Human Rights
7. Humanitarian Law Centre
8. Centre for Youth Integration




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