Social & Economic rights

Monday, 26 May 2014

Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on the Second Periodic Report of Serbia


At its 52nd Session, that is at its 27th and 28th meetings, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights considered the second periodic report of Serbia on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, along the information obtained from other sources, and at the 40th meeting held on 23rd May 2014, adopted the concluding observations.

During the consideration of the report, the Committee also took into consideration the written comments sent through the joint submission of Praxis, European Roma Rights Centre, the Standing Conference of Roma Associations – Roma League, Roma Women’s Network, YUROM Centre, Roma Women’s Network Bibija, Minority Rights Center, Regional Center for Minorities (RCM), Roma Association Kostolac, Humanitarian Center Roma Obrenovac and Society for Education of Roma Surdulica, which were aimed at drawing attention to the identified problems in practice and exercise of guaranteed rights.

In relation to the stated problems, the Committee is concerned about the prevailing discrimination against Roma as evidenced, inter alia, by disproportionately high unemployment, limited access to social security, accommodation in informal settlements, inadequate health and education. The Committee therefore regrets the shortcomings in the implementation of the Strategy for Improvements of the Status of Roma and the insufficient implementation of the nationally agreed priorities regarding Roma at the local level. At the same time, The Committee urges the State party to take further measures in order to overcome the prevailing discrimination against Roma in the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, including the revision of the Strategy for Improvements of the Status of Roma.

While noting the recent amendments to facilitate birth and residence registration, the Committee is concerned that a number of refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons remain without personal identity documents, thereby limiting their enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights. The Committee is also concerned that many internally displaced Roma living in informal settlements without a registered residence did not have their permanent address re-registered and recommends that the state ensure effective access of refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons, in particular Roma without registered residence who live in informal settlements, to procedures for birth and residence registration in order to facilitate access to personal documents, including birth certificates, identity cards and work booklets. In the meantime, those affected should have access to economic, social and cultural rights.

In relation to the forced evictions of informal Roma settlements, the Committee urges the State party to take urgent measures to consult affected communities throughout all stages of evictions, to ensure due process guarantees and compensation and to provide in particular for adequate alternative accommodation in locations suitable for social housing construction, taking into account the Committee’s General Comments No. 4 and 7 on the right to adequate housing and on forced evictions. In addition, the Committee expresses its concern at the small number of social housing units constructed annually for low income families and reiterates once again its concern that thousands of Roma continue to live in impoverished informal settlements in inadequate living conditions. Therefore, the Committee recommends that the State party accelerate measures for ensuring that Roma have access to adequate and affordable housing with legal security of tenure, safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, electricity etc., including by improving the conditions of existing settlements or by the construction of social housing units.

Download: Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (in English only)
Download: Written Comments to the Committee for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (in English only)

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Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action