Families at renewed risk of eviction in Belgrade

We have been informed that 33 families are at immediate risk of forced eviction in Serbia. The authorities appear determined to begin the eviction next week on 7th March.

We call on all our expert letter-writing supporters to take swift action and write to the Serbian authorities as a letter from you really can help!

If you would like help writing your letter please don't hesitate to email us at iar@amnesty.org.uk. If this is your first letter and you'd like us to look over it feel free to email it to us first.

You will also find attached three documents which make up the amazing resource that is the Participation Guide which will answer any questions you may have about the Network and how it works. This can also be downloaded at the bottom of the page on www.amnesty.org.uk/urgent

33 families at risk in Block 72

Thirty-three families, including Roma displaced from Kosovo, could be forcibly evicted from their homes in Belgrade, Serbia's capital, at any time from 1 March. Some of the families have been offered accommodation that does not meet international standards on adequate housing, while others will be left homeless.

The Belgrade city authorities, on behalf of the government of Serbia, are planning to forcibly evict 33 Roma families living in Block 72, to make way for commercial housing. Block 72 is an informal settlement on government-owned land in the city. The eviction was due to take place in November 2011, but it was delayed following protests by human rights groups, including Amnesty International. The city authorities have announced that they will carry out the eviction on 1 March, or as soon after that as the heavy snows in Belgrade clear.

wenty of the families are internally displaced, having fled Kosovo after the war there in 1999. Twelve other families are residents of Belgrade, and one originates from southern Serbia. If the eviction goes ahead, the families registered as resident in Belgrade are likely to be offered accommodation in "container settlements”, inhabited by other Roma families who have been forcibly evicted from other settlements. The metal containers are poorly ventilated, damp and overcrowded, and are usually on the outskirts of the city, far from public services and employment opportunities. Some of the families from Kosovo have been offered a place in collective centres for refugees, which are large buildings housing several families. However, these are inadequate due to poor infrastructure and lack of basic facilities, and the Serbian government is planning to close down all collective centres. Only one family has accepted this offer so far. Those that do not accept may be left homeless. The remaining ten families of the internally displaced were told by the authorities that they must return to Kosovo.

Please write immediately in English or your own language to the authorities in Serbia, urging them to:

  • Stop the forced eviction of Roma families living in Block 72 in Belgrade.
     
  • Provide adequate alternative housing for all the affected families, as required by UN Guidelines and Principles on Development Based Evictions and Resettlement and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Serbia is a party.
     
  • Ensure that the internally displaced families receive further assistance and protection, as required by the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.

Please post appeals before 7 March to

Minister for Environment, Mining and Spatial Planning
Nemanjina 11
11000 Belgrade, Serbia

Or email them to kabinet@ekoplan.gov.rs

You can also fax: 00381 11 361 77 22

Please address all correspondence 'Dear Minister'.

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