GI-ESCR intervenes to prevent forced eviction of Roma communities in Serbia
The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has intervened directly with Serbian authorities and with the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, the UN Special Rapporteur on racism and the UN Independent Expert seeking to prevent the forced eviction of two Roma communities in Belgrade. The Republic of Serbia succeeded to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on 12 March 2001. As such, it is legally obligated to ensure that evictions only occur in the most exceptional circumstances and after all feasible alternatives to eviction have been explored with the active, free and meaningful participation of the communities in question. To date, these requirements have not been met. There has been no justification for the threatened evictions nor has the community been allowed to actively, freely and meaningfully participate in decisions related to the threatened eviction including related to the provision of alternative housing and land.
The Global Initiative also pointed out that, under the right to development and the human rights-based approach to development, the development needs of vulnerable and marginalized persons, groups and communities, such as the urban poor or racial minorities, need to be prioritized and, like under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, those persons, groups and communities needs to actively, freely and meaningfully participate in the design, planning, implementation and monitoring of development. Such development should include in situ upgrading if the community so desires or relocation and alternative housing and land if that is their choice.