Saturday, March 24, 2012






Around 1500 Roma people are at risk of being forcibly evicted from their homes in Belvil, an informal settlement in Belgrade, Serbia 's capital , at any time from 1 9 March. They have not been given information about resettlement and may be resettled in inadequate conditions or left homeless.

The planned eviction of the informal settlement was first announced by the Belgrade city authorities in March 2010. They stated that most of the residents of Belvil settlement would be evicted to make way for access roads for a new bridge over the River Sava. The authorities did not carry out any meaningful and genuine consultations with residents nor did they have a resettlement plan. However, following massive campaigning by Amnesty International and local human rights organizations, the eviction was put on hold. As a result of continued lobbying, the European Investment Bank (EIB), which is co-financing the Sava bridge project, was persuaded that the eviction should be carried out in accordance with international standards.

In April 2011, the city authorities, assisted by the EIB, called a meeting with those residents of Belvil who live on the route of the access road (around 100 families) and promised the eviction would be carried out according to international human rights standards. The authorities said that they would develop a detailed Resettlement Action Plan, which would be consulted with each affected individual. They also said that residents would be accommodated in pre-fabricated houses, which Amnesty International considered to be adequate housing.

However, the affected residents were not informed of any further developments until 15 March 2012, when the city authorities told all residents of Belvil that they would be soon evicted. On 16 March, the Belgrade city authorities distributed eviction notices to residents in the settlement who are not living on the route of the access road. They were told that they have three days to destroy and leave their homes. They were not consulted on any alternative housing options or on plans for resettlement, and the authorities have failed to respond to repeated requests for information. Those living on the route of the access roads were told they will also soon be evicted, but were not told when this would happen. Despite assurances from EIB and the city authorities, they were not given any information about their resettlement, including where they would be resettled and what kind of housing would be provided.
Want to inform readers that my email account was hacked. So far everything seems fine with the blog but we're being watchful.

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