Human Rights Organisations demand better living standards for „Belvil“ Roma Evicted to Niš16. July 2012 - 10:44 — Dejan Georgievski
The Platform for Implementation of the Right to Adequate Housing and the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) demanded last Thursday, July 12, 2012, from the state authorities of Serbia and city administration of Niš to implement urgent measures to secure minimal standards for dignified living for the Roma families evicted from the informal Roma settlement Belvil (in Belgrade) and settled in Niš.
Four Roma families with seven children were housed in an abandoned storage facility in Niš without water and electricity supply, living in conditions well below the minimum of dignified human accommodation. The local human rights organizations from Niš tried to provide direct assistance and launched talks with representatives of the local administration to get them to resolve the problems faced by the families settled in the storage facility.
“However, more than 75 days later, the city administration and the state institutions took no action to secure the elementary living conditions – access to drinking water, electricity and sanitation – for the four families. The horrific living conditions are further exascerbated by the extremely hot weather“, the Platform and ERRC say in a joint statement for the public.
The human rights organisations add that such a grave neglect of the needs of the most vulnerable citizens is another demonstration of the deeply rooted neglect and marginalisation of the Roma, with great contributions by the authorities, and of the disregard for human rights standards in the are of adequate housing.
They note that Serbia accepted very clearly defined obligations regarding the rights listed in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The citizens evicted from informal settlements and slums have to be provided with adequate alternative accommodation which, among other issues, has to secure access to clean water, electricity and sanitation.
“For all those reasons, we again call on the authorities to take urgent measures to secure the elementary conditions for dignified living for the Roma citizens settled at the abandoned storage facility in Niš – move them to adequate and proper alternative accomodation“, The Platform for Implementation of the Right to Adequate Housing and ERRC say.
Note of reminder: The City Administration of Belgrade evicted, on April 26, 2012, close to 1,000 Roma citizens from the „Belvil“ slum. The IDP families from Kosovo and those who have residency rights in Belgrade were settled in shipping container settlements in the subburbs of Belgrade, while families with registered residency in other cities and townships in Serbia were deported to their places of origin.
The Platform for Implementation of the Right to Adequate Housing includes Praxis, Minority Rights Centre, the Regional Centre for the Minorities, the Network of Committees for Human Rights in Serbia CHRIS, the YUCOM Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights, and the Novi Sad Humanitarian Centre. (Source: CRNPS/ERRC)
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