Social & Economic rights

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Belgrade City Administration Illegally Processed Data on Residents of Social Housing and Container Settlements

The Secretariat for Social Welfare of the City of Belgrade – Department for Resettlement of Unhygienic Settlements and Social Housing illegally processes personal data on the Roma residing in social housing and container settlements established after forced evictions.

The non-governmental organisation Praxis, other national and international organisations, as well as the Protector of Citizens, regularly receive letters from the Secretariat for Social Welfare, which, according to the Law on Protection of Personal Data, contain particularly sensitive personal data on the residents of container settlements and social housing. In these letters, the Secretariat specifies names and surnames, unique personal identification numbers and other personal data on the residents for the purpose of “regular notification about the families from the newly-established settlements and social housing, which, despite the great efforts that the City invests into the improvement of the position of Roma, reject to adapt to better living conditions and disturb other families who want to have a normal life”.

The Secretariat for Social Welfare of the City of Belgrade – Department for Resettlement of Unhygienic Settlements and Social Housing further presents the information regarding the suspicion of criminal acts, sexual intercourse among the settlement residents, "bodily impairment" of the children of some settlement residents, and other similar information. In addition, it is particularly disconcerting that the Department for Resettlement of Unhygienic Settlements and Social Housing in its letters explicitly states that these data are collected only in relation to the Roma who live in social housing and container settlements.


Taking this into consideration, at the beginning of September 2013 Praxis filed a complaint with the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection against the Belgrade City Administration for illegal processing of personal data. Having conducted the procedure of control, the Commissioner determined that the amount and type of processed data was not in proportion with the purpose of the processing, which made this processing unlawful based on Article 8 item 7 of the Law on Personal Data Protection. Consequently, the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection warned the Secretariat for Social Welfare of the City of Belgrade that it was unlawful to process such data and set the 15-day deadline for the elimination of identified irregularities as of the date of receiving the Commissioner’s warning.

Taking into account the indisputable fact that the Belgrade City Administration illegally collected data exclusively about the persons of Roma ethnicity, and that these particularly sensitive data were even taken out of the country, it remains unclear why the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection did not prohibit the further processing of personal data to the Secretariat for Social Welfare of the City of Belgrade and order the deletion of data collected without the legal grounds.

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Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action