12 July 2011
Threat of forced eviction of Roma from Obrenovac municipality in Belgrade

Seventeen predominantly Roma families who live in several buildings owned by the Belgrade municipality of Obrenovac are at risk of being forcibly evicted. Like in other evictions that have taken place in Serbia recently, the municipality plans to move the community to metal containers which do not meet minimum standards of adequate housing as defined by the UN Committee on Social Economic and Cultural Rights.

The authorities have not consulted the affected community on the eviction plans and have refused to accept or listen to their appeals against eviction.

Amnesty International is extremely concerned at the rising number of forced evictions conducted by municipal and city authorities of Roma communities living in informal settlements in Belgrade.

The Serbian government has failed to comply with their obligations under international and regional human rights treaties to which Serbia is a state party, to prohibit, prevent and end forced evictions. The authorities have failed to adopt a law prohibiting forced evictions, which would ensure that the processes and safeguards, set out in relevant UN Guidelines and Principles, are in place before any evictions are carried out. The government has failed to prevent forced evictions of Roma by the City of Belgrade, who not only lose their homes, but their livelihoods and often their only possessions.

 

TAKE ACTION:

Sign the petition to the mayors of Obrenovac and Belgrade.


Dear Mayor,

I am writing to express my concern over the threat of forced eviction of 17 families, including children and elderly, from municipal buildings in Obrenovac, a municipality of Belgrade.

Seventeen predominantly Roma families who live in several buildings owned by the Belgrade municipality of Obrenovac are at risk of being forcibly evicted. Approximately 78 people will be affected including 35 minors and four people over the age of 65. According to the Minority Rights Center, a Serbian NGO, some of the Roma have been living in this location for more than 40 years, and most have contracts with the municipality allowing them to use the property indefinitely.

Evictions carried out without sufficient prior notice, without genuine consultation on relocation plans and without an adequate alternative housing and compensation for any losses of those affected by them, are considered forced evictions and are illegal under international law binding Serbian authorities.

In that regard I urge you to:

  • Stop the forced eviction of the 17 Roma families from Obrenovac;
  • Conduct genuine consultation with the families to identify all feasible alternatives to evictions and on resettlement options;
  • Ensure that no eviction takes place unless it is in full compliance with the guarantees required under regional and international human rights standards, including adequate prior notice, genuine consultation and the provision of adequate alternative housing to all those affected.


Yours sincerely,

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