The non-governmental organisation Praxis strongly condemns today's action of the City Administration of Leskovac, which cancelled alternative accommodation to the Roma, who had previously been evicted from the informal settlement Belvil. Twenty-three Roma men and women, of whom eleven children, have been evicted today from the hostel Mimi in Leskovac, where they had temporarily lived since the eviction from the informal settlement Belvil. They do not know where to sleep tonight and plan to find temporary accommodation with relatives in Leskovac and its surroundings.
There were no incidents during the eviction; the families evicted from the hostel were given a one-off allowance in the amount of 20,000.00 to 30,000.00 dinars with the obligation to find accommodation on their own until the end of the week when the City Administration of Leskovac is supposed to secure permanent housing for them. The representatives of the City Administration of Leskovac have failed to provide alternative accommodation and switched the burden of finding accommodation to the former Belvil residents who are unemployed, mainly engaged in the collection of secondary raw material and on a daily basis face marginalisation and hindered access to the rights that are taken for granted by other citizens of the Republic of Serbia. In addition to violating the dignity and human rights of the former residents of Belvil by this latest eviction, the City Administration of Leskovac also inefficiently and irrationally spent over two million dinars, according to the rough estimate, for accommodation of the families evicted from the informal settlement Belvil. That money could have been spent on a durable solution to the housing problems of these families, thus paving their way out of poverty and social exclusion.
In addition to the foregoing, by conducting this eviction, the City Administration of Leskovac has acted contrary to the recommendation of the Protector of Citizens and revealed both the lack of plan for the integration of Roma and the lack of its interest to act on the recommendations aimed at improving the work of administration authorities and exercising the human rights of the most vulnerable and marginalised social group in Serbia.
We therefore urge the authorities to:
- Immediately find permanent accommodation for the families that have been evicted today;
- Establish responsibility for the irrational use of money for temporary accommodation, which could have been spent on securing permanent housing for those families;
- Urgently develop a plan for the integration of the former residents of the informal settlement Belvil, who were relocated to Leskovac, and begin with its implementation in order to achieve full respect for human rights of all the citizens who have been evicted today.