EU-funded housing may result in racial segregation in Serbia

Good news: In direct response to this campaign, the EU Mission in Serbia has made a public statement of their opposition to the resettlement of Roma into racially segregated settlements, stating that they agreed with our position on this human rights violation. Huge thanks to everyone who took action.

Back in 2009 and then in April 2012, two Roma settlements (Gazela Bridge and Belvil respectively) were illegally evicted from settlements in the Serbian capital, Belgrade. These communities ended up homeless or were put into metal containers on the outskirts of Belgrade. But now the city authorities are deciding on the resettlement of these communities in locations which could further result in racial segregation for them. And incredibly, the EU is even funding this.

Most of the proposed locations are far from the centre of Belgrade, in some cases 25-50km away (approx. 15-30 miles), and isolated from towns and villages, with poor public transport and no access to employment. People in these communities cannot afford a car and can barely afford the bus fare needed to get into the city for work, school and to access services.

On this basis, most of these proposed sites do not comply with international standards on adequate housing which stipulates that its location has to enable residents to access work opportunities, education and amenities.

Given that the European Commission allocated €3.6 million for the provision of permanent housing in Belgrade for Roma forcibly evicted from Belvil and Gazela Bridge, we are calling on them to insist that the Belgrade City authorities identify locations for resettlement, in consultation with the Roma communities, which are nearer to the city, provide them with access to services and employment opportunities and are not segregated from the majority population.

Take Action

Please take action by telling the European Delegation in Serbia that they have responsibility as funders of this resettlement to ensure it doesn’t drive these communities further into exclusion and poverty:

Complete this feedback form with your name, email address, institution (school, work or just enter "Amnesty International") and the following subject and message:

Subject: Don’t fund the segregation of the Roma in Serbia

Message: Dear Martin Kern,

I am concerned that sites proposed by the City of Belgrade authorities for the permanent housing of forcibly evicted Roma are on the outskirts of Belgrade, with poor transport facilities and little access to work, and will, in some cases, result in the creation of racially segregated settlements.  

I urge you as the representative of the funders (EC) in Serbia to require from Belgrade City authorities to identify locations for resettlement, in consultation with the Roma communities, which are nearer to the city, and which provide them with access to services and employment opportunities and are not segregated from the majority population.

Yours sincerely

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