New Threat of Forced Eviction of Roma Men and Women in Belgrade!

In Belgrade, March the 30th, 2023

The A 11 Initiative hereby informs the public that preparations for the forced eviction of the informal Roma settlement “Antena” at the terminus of bus line 75 in the New Belgrade Municipality are underway.

About forty families who are mostly internally displaced from Kosovo and who have been living in this settlement for years in inhumane circumstances, received yesterday afternoon the decision of the Department for Inspection Affairs of the New Belgrade Communal Inspection Branch Office, ordering them to remove their houses within 24 hours of the issuing of the decision.

The above decision, based on the Decision on Maintaining Urban Cleanliness, the Decision on Communal Order and the Decision on Communal Inspection, deprives the residents of the settlement of the right to a legal remedy because the appeal does not prevent the enforcement.

By carrying out the demolition, all these families will be left without a roof over their heads and without any possibility of protecting their basic human rights!

We remind you that more than ten years ago, the Belgrade City Administration carried out forced evictions of Roma men and women in a similar way, which were condemned by various international bodies for the protection of human rights, starting from those working under the auspices of the United Nations, such as the Committee for Economic, Social and Cultural rights, up to the bodies of the Council of Europe.

The right to adequate housing guarantees the security of tenant status even in cases where the facilities are non-standard or built without the necessary permits; cases of forced evictions leading to citizens being left without a roof over their heads are in direct contradiction with the provisions of Article 11 of the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The way in which the New Belgrade Municipality is trying to carry out the eviction is in violation of the provisions of Articles 78-87 of the Law on Housing and Building Maintenance, which clearly govern eviction procedures.

Moreover, we cannot help but notice that it is hypocritical to treat anyone’s home as municipal waste that should be removed within 24 hours, particularly when the residents are the most vulnerable Roma men and women – those internally displaced from Kosovo, who, due to extreme poverty, have no possibility to exercise their right to adequate housing.

Instead of conducting urgent demolition, the City Administration should provide adequate and affordable alternative accommodation to these people, in accordance with domestic and international regulations governing housing.

The Initiative A 11 has addressed the competent institutions today in order to influence the City of Belgrade to stop the forced eviction, and during the day it will also address other mechanisms to protect the rights of the residents of the “Antena” settlement.

Finally, we call on the City of Belgrade to immediately stop the eviction, thereby preventing the serious violation of human rights of the residents of the “Antena” settlement!