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Yougoslavia, Federal Rep.of
28.09.01
Urgent Interventions

Yugoslavia: Roma Families Facing Severe Living Conditions and Threatened by Eviction

ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS CONCERN
Case YUG 250701.1 ESCRC
Follow-up to Case YUG 250701. ESCRC


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


New Information

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by a reliable source that the eight Roma families who were evicted from shacks on a plot in the Kosutnjak district of Belgrade on June 14th 2001, and who have been living since then in a nearby public park, have been given until October 1st 2001 by the municipal inspector to move out of the park.

According to the information received, the eight Roma families, amongst whom there are 10 children under the age of 10, have been living since their eviction on June 14th 2001 in a public park where they found refuge. It is reported that due to the intolerable conditions in which they live Isnija Stojovic miscarried and that all the children have been taken ill.

In the appeal released on July 25th 2001, the International Secretariat already expressed its deep concern regarding the conditions in which the 8 Roma families were living since they found refuge in the park due to the State’s failure to provide alternative housing. The Roma families have been living in temporary wooden shelters with no access to toilets and drinking water. It is also reported that they have no food, except that from garbage bins. Moreover, every night, the Roma families have had stones thrown at them from moving cars, while garbage was dumped in their settlements.


Reminder of the Situation

On June 14th 2001, eight Roma families of over 30 people, amongst whom there are 10 children are under the age of 10, including a five-month old baby, were evicted from a building site located in the Kostutnjak district of Belgrade. The Roma have been living in this place since 1988.

The eviction, which took place at 11 p.m., was allegedly carried out by the municipal authorities with the assistance of police and private security guards. The Roma families had only five minutes to gather their belongings and move otherwise the police threatened to “crash into the lot and break all the furniture and other things”. The mother of the five-month old baby was threatened that if she refused to collaborate during the eviction, her child would be put into care. The police also allegedly warned the Roma that they would be jailed if they tried to return to the site.

The eviction of the eight Roma families follows the initiative taken by the municipality to restore the ownership rights of the former owners (before 1945) and was issued when the building site was denationalised and returned to its previous owner.

As the municipal authorities allegedly failed to provide alternative temporary accommodation, the eight Roma families found refuge in the Kosutnjak public park where they have been living since then, in constant fear of being forced to move again.
Several other cases of eviction have been reported. In 2000, 4 evictions of Roma families were reported, the worst being of the Roma settlement in Antena in Belgrade, where all the inhabitants, including children, were beaten by the police. Since January this year, 5 forced evictions of Roma families have been reported.


Action Requested

Please write to the 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 eight Roma families, which include the authorities’ obligation to ensure that adequate alternative housing is available;

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 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, September 28th 2001

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