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Yougoslavia, Federal Rep.of
18.10.01
Urgent Interventions

Yugoslavia: Eviction of a Mother and her Child

ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS CONCERN
Case YUG 181001.ESCRC


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 received reliable information of the unlawful ejection of a woman and two children from their home in Novi Sad, Vojvodina, by military police.

According to information received, Mrs. Sevic was the legal occupant of an apartment that had originally been allocated to her husband, a member of the Yugoslav army. On 22 August 2001, Mrs. Sevic received a written order to move out of her apartment, signed by the commanding officer of the Novi Sad Garrison Command, Tode Solaja. As Mrs. Sevic had applied to the Municipal Court in Novi Sad for a ruling allowing her to remain in the apartment after the divorce from her husband, an eviction would be illegal except on the basis of a court order.

It is reported that on 3 October, soldiers broke into Mrs. Sevic's apartment, loading furniture and appliances into a truck. 20 soldiers stood outside her building, several of who were armed. On insisting to be shown the eviction order, the man in charge waved a paper at Mrs. Sevic from a distance so that she could not read it. On trying to grab the paper, Mrs. Sevic was grabbed by the arms by two soldiers and roughly pulled away. At one point, the man in charge threatened to arrest both Mrs. Sevic and her mother.

According to information received, Mrs. Sevic is now staying with her children at her mother's house. She has not been provided with any alternative housing. She is presently in the process of suing the military for disturbing her property.


Background information

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.

In the General Comment No. 4, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights emphasised the obligation of states parties to the Covenant to provide legal security of tenure, including the guarantee of legal protection against forced eviction, harassment and other threats. As stated in General Comment No. 7, the State must itself refrain from forced evictions and ensure that the law is enforced against its agents or third parties who carry out forced evictions. This approach is reinforced by article 17.1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, complementing the right not to be forcefully evicted without adequate protection, recognising the right to be protected against 'arbitrary interference' with one's home.

In addition, comment No. 16 states that in the case of an eviction, the State must take all appropriate measures to the maximum of its available resources to ensure the provision of adequate alternative housing for those who are unable to provide for themselves. (applicable?)


Action requested

Please write to the Yugoslavian authorities urging them to:

i. guarantee an immediate investigation into the circumstances of the ejection of Mrs. Sevic and her children, identify those responsible; bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal and apply the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions provided by law;

ii. guarantee adequate reparation to the victims;

iii. guarantee the respect for the economic, social and cultural rights and notably the right of everyone to legal security and just treatment, peaceful enjoyment of property, and to housing as guaranteed by article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

iv. guarantee the respect for 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 E-mail:

His Excellency, Minister of Justice, Ministar pravde, Republicko Ministarstvo za pravosudje i optu upravu, Namanjina 26, 11000 Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Fax: (011-381) 11 361 6590 E-mail:

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Fax : + 38 111 681 572

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

Geneva, 17 October, 2001

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