Target: Dusan Ignjatovic, Director of the Agency for Human and Minority Rights.
Goal: To end the Serbian government’s policy of forced evictions of Roma communities.
The Serbian government is relocating an evicted Roma community to housing funded by the European Commission. The Commission allocated $4.6 million for housing for the community that was evicted from their settlement called Belvil. This will allow for the construction of around 140 housing units. The Roma community was forcibly removed from a number of small settlements in and around the Serbian capital, Belgrade. It is feared by human rights groups that the proposed housing solution will lead to enforced racial segregation. A vote by city officials at the end of December will decide whether to relocate the Roma community to the proposed racially segregated camps. These camps will be far away from the city center and isolated from other towns and villages. This will result in poor access to water, sanitation and inadequate public transportation, not to mention the racial segregation of the Roma community. Unfortunately, no representative from the Roma community has been given the opportunity to propose alternatives to the proposed sites for relocation.
Forced evictions have long been a problem in Serbia. The government must end all forced evictions in Serbia, and introduce a law that will prohibit forced evictions. It must ensure that any further evictions carried out against transient communities are carried out in line with international law. Previous evictions have resulted in hurried relocations that result in poor shelter. Some evicted families in 2009 were relocated to metal containers that are ordinarily used for offices on construction sites. These housing units definitely do not meet international regulations.
Sign this petition and ask that the Serbian government halt forced evictions and ensure the welfare of relocated families. Forced evictions often result in homelessness in the absence of provided shelter, the violation to the right to fresh water and sanitation and the violation of the freedom to work. The lack of public transportation around the proposed settlement sites in large part causes these violations. The international community can do a lot to ensure that Serbia follows international law and stops forced evictions.
Dear Dusan Ignjatovic, Director of the Agency for Human and Minority Rights,
I ask that you ensure the Serbian government halts the policy of forced evictions and ensures the welfare of relocated families. Forced evictions often result in homelessness, a lack of fresh water and sanitation, and inadequate public transportation. Without public transport, these relocated families have little hope of finding employment and contributing to society.
Reports that the proposed relocation sites in Serbia will be racially segregated are also a concern. The UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called on Serbia to end forced evictions as they ended up segregating Roma communities from the rest of society. Serbia must ensure basic human rights and end racial segregation by ending forced evictions and relocations.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: jaime.silva via Flickr