“They came with trucks and police and vans. We all had to leave in 20 minutes. I lost...everything. I wasn’t even there when the house was taken down.” Tomica, Belgrade
Since 2009, Roma communities in Belgrade, Serbia, have been living under the constant threat of forced eviction by the authorities. Some, like Tomica, have already lost their homes. This is a violation of their right to adequate housing.
Roma are already among the poorest people in Serbian society and face systematic discrimination. They are excluded from public life and forced to live in informal settlements without access to basic services like water and sanitation.
The Serbian government should have put safeguards in place to protect those affected by evictions. Yet Roma are rarely informed about the authorities‚ plans, let alone consulted. When alternative accommodation has been provided, it is substandard. Some evicted Roma have been moved into segregated settlements on the outskirts of Belgrade, where they live in metal containers while others have been forcibly displaced to southern Serbia.
The threatened evictions can only prolong this cycle of poverty and human rights abuses.
Roma communities are taking action to challenge the evictions and defend their rights, and Amnesty International is urging everyone to support their effort by signing this petition.