Tag Archives: Universiade

Support Roma Housing Struggle in Belgrade, Serbia

Solidarity Appeal: Support Roma Housing Struggle in Belgrade, Serbia

http://www.youtube.com/user/pravonanaseljetv

Today, Roma organizations and allies in Belgrade, Serbia are organizing a demonstration in response to the demolition of the Roma community’s housing units in Block 67 situated in the New Belgrade. The violent and surprising move to destroy people’s homes and an entire community was organized by the City of Belgrade authorities with the support of Belgrade City Mayor Dragan Djilas. Your solidarity is needed!

sequence-2On Friday morning (April 3rd), the forcible and violent eviction of Roma families living in the Block 67 neighborhood began. The residents of this community say that the demolitions began during a surprise invasion beginning at six in the morning led by heavy police presence and special forces. Police brutality resulted in an emergency evacuation of two women from the community. Peoples’ entire belongings were left behind in the ruins. A part of the community is now spending the night in front of the City Council. They are without warm clothes, blankets, food, and medicine (many people had to leave them behind). Residents say that during the day unidentified youth on motorcycles were provoking and instilling fear in the community.

In the meantime, no alternative housing has been secured by the city government, nor is anyone taking care of these needs. Belgrade’s Mayor Djilas announced that it is “necessary that they be removed from that area so that we can build a new boulevard necessary for the development of the city, and holding of events being planned in the future.” He also threatened to deploy police forces to remove any protesters attempting to bloc the streets. These actions were preceded by a media campaign that justified the expulsion of Roma living in New Belgrade under “security” and “city image” considerations in the lead up to the Universiade 2009. Through his statements, Mayor Dragan Djilas has contributed to the fascist relationship towards Roma citizens and justified the destruction of their homes. As an “alternative” the city officials are suggesting to remove the building of a fence around the community so that “the city’s deformities won’t be seen during the Universiade.”

Does this mean that the Universiade will be paid for with human lives if necessary?

Our fellow citizens who have been left without home are determined to fight for their rights, their right to life, freedom, housing and work.

Today (Saturday) at 1pm a protest is being organized against the brutal behavior through which the Belgrade government prefers to solve the city’s problems. Support people that have been thrown onto the streets in this violent way. We must stand in solidarity with the Roma of Belgrade, we must not allow that people’s houses are destroyed, that fascist walls are built and that people are fenced into ghettoes!

We call on international solidarity in conjunction with these actions:

PLEASE CONTACT THE FOLLOWING: (1) Mayor’s office of the City of Belgrade; (2) President’s Office of the Republic of Serbia; (3) Head Office of the International University Sports Federation (organizing the Universiade in Belgrade); (4) Your nearest Serbian embassy or consulate.

(1) Mayor’s Office

E-mail: natasa.golubovic@beogradsg.org.yu
Head of Office, tel: 3246-764, 3229-787
tel: 3247-424, tel/fax: 3344-675
Natasa Golubović
independent expert associate in international affairs

Dear Mayor Dragan Djilas:

I am writing to express my outrage at the recent racist expulsion of 50 families from the Roma community of Block 67, near Belvil in New Belgrade.

I demand that your government take all necessary measures to provide restitution to the residents of the community and prevent any further expulsion of Roma families or their further social exclusion.

Belgrade can not expect to rebrand itself in the eyes of the world by hosting Universiades or Eurovision contests while it continues to deny fundamental rights to housing, employment, life and security to its residents, particularly the most vulnerable and socially excluded.

I demand that your government respond and meet its obligations under a number of international conventions and work towards securing the rights of Roma residents instead of deploying police forces to suppress them and engaging in “social cleansing.”

Kind regards,

____________

(2) President of the Republic of Serbia

GENERAL SECRETARIAT OF THE
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA
Andricev venac 1, 11000 Beograd, Serbia
tel: +381 (0)11 3632-007, 3632-136
e-mail: kontakt.predsednik@predsednik.rs
http://www.predsednik.rs

Dear President Boris Tadic:

I am writing to express my outrage at the recent racist expulsion of 50 families from the Roma community of Block 67, near Belvil in New Belgrade.

I implore your government take all necessary measures to sanction the Belgrade City Authorities and ensure they provide restitution to the residents of this Roma community and work towards preventing any further expulsion of Roma families or their further social exclusion in Serbia.

Belgrade can not expect to rebrand itself in the eyes of the world by hosting Universiades or Eurovision contests while it continues to deny fundamental rights to housing, employment, life and security to its residents, particularly the most vulnerable and socially excluded.

I demand that your government respond and meet its obligations under a number of international conventions and work towards securing the rights of Roma residents instead of deploying police forces to suppress them and engaging in “social cleansing.”

Kind regards,

 

Leave a comment

Filed under anti-racism, anti-fascism, international affairs, open letters, manifestos, appeals, racism, nationalism, fascism, urban movements (right to the city)