Serbian Ombudsman Fears Shipping Containers may be Viewed as Permanent Solution for Belvil Roma31. July 2012 - 14:14 — Dejan Georgievski
The latest report by Serbian Ombudsman, released last Thursday, July 26, lists a growing number of problems faced by the Roma evicted from the “Belvil” slum in Belgrade. The Report notes that the new accommodation in several locations in Belgrade is “solid” but should not be seen as some sort of permanent solution.
The biggest problems, according to the report, have the Roma evicted to other cities and town in Serbia, in which they own some property, in view of the fact that local administrations don’t have the will, the funds or organization to deal with the problems of evicted Roma.
The Report states that none of the local administrations in Vranje, Leskovac, Novi Sad, Niš, Bojnik, Lebane i Prokuplje, the municipalities to which some of the Roma families were moved, had strategy or action plans for improved status and situation of the Roma population in place.
The Ombudsman notes in the Report that he presented the local self-governments that received some of the Belvil Roma families, as well as to the competent ministries with recommendations that would ensure that the eviction and integration of the Roma would be in line with the Strategy for Improvement of Status of Roma, something that they omitted to do. He especially mentioned the ministries of labour, human and minority rights and local self-government for their passive approach to the planning and implementation of the move.
Some of the omissions noted by the Ombudsman are the bad living conditions in the accommodation secured for the evicted Roma families, insufficient material assistance and conflicts between between neighbouring municipalities about who has jurisdiction over the evicted Roma families. The Report lists the case of Prokuplje, where the Municipal Social Work Centre wasn’t informed that 19 Roma returned from Belgrade for full two months after they were evicted, and the case of Niš where several Roma families were put into a facility without running water or electricity.
According to the Report, those and similar problems have forced some of the evicted Roma families to return to Belgrade again, to some of the remaining informal slums.
The Report states that the five meetings the City Administration in Belgrade held with the Belvil residents were not nearly enough, failing to offer the necessary details on the whole process, in view of the difficult living conditions of the now evicted Roma families.
The Ombudsman greeted, on the other hand, the initiative of the City of Belgrade to initiate further measures and to coordinate the competent ministries and local administrations in the process of full integration of evicted Roma. He did note that the initiative needs to be fully supported by national and local institutions that will do the actual work on the ground.
The eviction of 257 Roma families from the slum near the “Belvil” condominium centre in Belgrade was conducted on April 26, 2012, by the competent offices of the City of Belgrade. The Roma were moved to five suburban areas in Belgrade and nine other cities and municipalities all over Serbia.
The last 23 families, living along the access roads to the future Ada Bridge will be moved next autumn, as noted in the agreement signed with the European Investment Bank that will finance the building of the new bridge. There is information that they will move to a new adequate accommodation with all infrastructure and amenities, but the location has not been disclosed. (Source: euractiv.rs)
EuroDIG Remote Participation
EuroDIG Remote Participation Hub, Sarajevo, June 21, 2013. More info to follow soon...