Introduction

Amnesty International submits the following information for consideration by the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (the Committee) in advance of its examination of Serbia’s initial report, submitted under Article 9 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (the Convention).1 This briefing summarizes Amnesty International’s assessment of Serbia’s implementation of Articles 5 and 6 of the Convention, focussing on its failure to guarantee the right to adequate housing to Romani people in Serbia, without discrimination.

The organization has documented a pattern of forced evictions of Romani communities in Belgrade, the capital city of Serbia. It has also found that the resettlement provided to communities who have been forcibly evicted, in a number of cases does not meet international standards relating to the adequacy of housing and contributes to further segregation of these communities.

Further, the lack of safeguards under national law has particular consequences for Romani communities who – almost uniquely – are at high risk of forced evictions. The organization considers that Serbia is failing to guarantee the right to adequate housing without distinction on the basis of ethnicity.

Amnesty International has also documented violations of the rights to freedom of movement and residence of Romani people who have been forcibly internally displaced to Southern Serbia as well as discrimination against internally displaced Roma from Kosovo and forced returnees.

Amnesty International regrets that in a number of fundamental respects Serbia has failed to honour its obligations under the Convention. The present briefing focuses on discrimination against members of the Romani community in Serbia in relation to the right to adequate housing, and in particular on the rights of those living in informal settlements, where the organization focuses on the following concerns:

· The forced eviction of Romani people from informal settlements in Belgrade, and the consequent denial of other convention rights, before during and after eviction;

· The denial of the right to freedom of movement and residence;

· Failure to guarantee the rights of internally displaced Roma.

Date: February 2011

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