Open Doors of the Shelter for Adults and the Elderly!

The A 11 Initiative calls on the Shelter for Adults and the Elderly to urgently provide admission to beneficiaries facing homelessness who, without the support of the social protection system, can in no way meet basic needs for adequate and dignified accommodation, care and nutrition.

In the past few weeks, the A 11 Initiative has been aware of a number of cases where persons in urgent need of accommodation failed to exercise this right in the Shelter under the pretext that this institution, which was established solely to receive people in urgent need, does not receive new users due to a situation caused by the corona virus pandemic. Bearing in mind that the institution is exclusively obliged to provide accommodation to people who are homeless, and that almost eight months have passed since the beginning of the corona virus pandemic, the above explanation under which the admission of users who urgently need support is being denied is completely unacceptable.

We are witnessing consequences of this illegal practice of the management of the Shelter for Adults and the Elderly for the most endangered in the case of a user whose life has been endangered by the actions of this institution. Namely, this is a person who is represented by A 11 Initiative and who was in need of emergency admission to the Shelter for Adults and the Elderly, who after admission to the Emergency Center was returned to an abandoned house without water, electricity, heating, windows and doors, with open wounds on the legs and the need for daily dressings. This man survived exclusively thanks to the help provided by the associations ADRA, Prevent and Solidarity Kitchen, whose members and activists were bringing him food, water, blankets and in other ways trying to help him.

The City of Belgrade as the founder, the Shelter for Adults and the Elderly as an institution established to provide accommodation services, whose scope of work is determined by the Law on Social Protection and the Republic of Serbia as a state that signed the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights are obliged to provide the right to adequate housing for those in need. However, in this case, we have the opportunity to see absolute negligence and carelessness for those who are the most vulnerable. Drastic violations of the right to life, health and dignity of the beneficiary, which is due to the arbitrariness of the management of the Shelter for Adults and the Elderly on the edge of existence, deserve to be sanctioned.

The A 11 Initiative filed a complaint with the Department for Emergency Actions of the Protector of Citizens about the work of the Shelter, as well as criminal charges against the director of the Shelter, Ms. Nevenka Nikić-Simatković, for negligent work and expects urgent reactions from relevant state institutions, opening doors of the Shelter and accepting people in need of emergency accommodation and determining responsibility for the fact that this institution has been refusing to accept users for almost eight months.

Homelessness is not a coincidence that “happens” to someone, it is the result of a series of human rights violations and the ultimate consequence of social exclusion and marginalization. Therefore, accommodation in the Shelter is the right of all those who need this service, and not alms depending on the will of individuals or social welfare institutions.