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Yougoslavia, Federal Rep.of
10.04.02
Urgent Interventions

Yougoslavia: 717 Roma threatened with eviction

ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS CONCERN
Case YUG 041002 ESCRC / threat of eviction


The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Yugoslavia.


Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed, by a reliable source, that 60 Roma families that have been displaced from Kosovo and 64 domestic Roma families (a total of 717 people) are being threatened by municipal authorities with eviction from the Stari Aerodrome settlement in Belgrade. The eviction is scheduled for October 5 2002.

According to the information received, after a protest held on September 2nd outside the Serbian Presidency building by the Roma and NGOs supporting their action, Minister Rasim Ljaljic, Roma representatives and the director of IMT (the Company that owns the land were the settlement is located) have reached an agreement to stop the eviction until the 5th of October.

Despite this agreement, it is reported that 37 families had to withdraw from one part of the settlement to another or to go to other places, because buildres had encircled the part of the settlement where they lived with wire.

The remaining families are allegedly living under constant fear of being evicted in the same way. It is reported that security guards with dogs have been posted around the settlement since September 1. According to the information received, these guards will deny them the permission to re-enter the area if they leave the wire-encircled settlement. Moreover, it is reported that representatives of the firms are continuously asking the Roma to leave even though no alternative accommodation has been found for them.

According to the information received, these Roma families are living in deplorable conditions, in shelters made of soft material, without proper hygiene and infrastructure. It is notably reported that in an effort to force the Roma out, IMT cut the water and electricity supply to a part of the settlement. Moreover, it is reported that 10 people are seriously ill, and all are facing very bad socio-economic situations, with only 12 people being employed. As for the children, 31 attend primary school, while 4 children attend secondary school and 35 attend schools for mentally disabled children.


Background information

These events occur after several attempts by both the Roma and the NGOs acting on their behalf to address the municipal and city authorities with requests for the allocation of alternative land on which the Roma could build homes for themselves. It is reported that the authorities demonstrated no understanding of the problem. Numerous meetings were also held with representatives of the State (Federal Ministry of Minorities, City Hall) and international organization in Serbia (UNHCR, UNHCHR), but no concrete plan have resulted as yet. Even if the 60 Roma families displaced from Kosovo were offered accommodation in collective centres throughout Serbia, there is still no solution for the 64 domestic families.

The right to adequate housing generally and forced evictions in particular is dealt with in article 11 of the Covenant, together with other provisions for achieving an adequate standard of living.


Action requested

Please write to Yugoslavian authorities urging them to:

i. take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of the Roma families;
ii. take all necessary measures to guarantee the right to adequate housing of the Roma families which includes the authorities’ obligation to ensure that adequate alternative housing is provided;
iii. guarantee respect for the economic, social and cultural rights throughout the country and in particular the right to adequate housing;
iv. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.


Addresses

His Excellency Vojislav Kostunica, President of The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Predsednik SRJ, Bulevar Mihaila Pupina 2, 11070 Belgrade, Yugoslavia
Fax: (+ 011 381) 11 636 775 /(+ 011 381) 11 636 682) / (+ 011 381) 11 636 167 E-mail: VojislavKostunica@gov.yu

His Excellency, Prime Minister, Predsednik Savezne Vlade, Bulevar Mihaila Pupina 2, 11070 Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Fax: (+ 011-381) 11 636 775 or (011-381) 11 659 682

His Excellency, Minister of Justice, Ministar pravde, Republicko Ministarstvo za pravosudje i optu upravu, Namanjina 26, 11000 Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Fax: (011-381) 11 361 659
Minister of Foreign Affairs Fax: + 38 111 681 572


Please also write to the embassies of Yugoslavia in your respective country.

Geneva, October 5th 2002

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply
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