Fearing new attacks

The municipality of Rakovica does not respect the decision to temporary put the ban onthe eviction, which was made by the European Court of Human Rights

Yesterday, the human rights organizationJednakost repaired the roof of the house where families Sandić and Radosavljević lived, and now they can return to their home once again. Also, the same families were almost violently evicted for the fourth time by the hired football hooligans from the barracks at Vidikovački Venac bb Street .

Written by: I. Nikoletić, text published  in the daily newspaper Danas, July 17th, 2017

Namely, in the last attempt to evict them, around20 hired menbegan to demolish the roof and then violently broke into the barrack in the morning of July 8th, after which this family was forced to sleep outside. The organization Jednakost has collected funds for materials and workers so that 16 members of these families can temporarily return to the shacks, but this will not solve theproblem of constant threats and attacks they are exposed to.

– “We are currently trying to fix the roof and allow these families to return to live here, but nobody can guarantee that the attacks will not happen again in the future. These people have been there since 2009 when they moved intothe abandoned shack and this is the fourth time they have been attacked since the beginning of the year. There is a constant fear and uncertainty. The head of the construction company, who claims to own the land, is trying to move them out by  hiring football hooligans, because there is no legal basis for this.”–states JovanaVuković from Jednakost for the newspaper Danas.

She emphasizes that the European Court of Human Rights, at the request of the aforementioned organization, made a decision on a temporaryban in March 2016, according to which the authorities must not evict the two families until the court delivers precise and accurate information about the measures taken by the local authorities to provide families with alternative accommodation and other social services.

– “The municipality of Rakovica is ignoring  this measure, and what is a major cause for concern  is  the fact that these attacks are more frequent. TheProsecutor’s Officeis also not reacting  in relation to the criminal charges submitted by our organization against the attackers. All relevant institutions remain silent, sending a clear message to the attackers that they are protected. The next eviction was announced for July 30th. What is terrifying and worrying is that the same investor entered the police station and said: “yes, I have hired these people to do it.”- added Jovana Vuković.

We found Vesna Sandić, who lives in the shacks with her husband, sick mother and five children, (the youngest is one and a half years old) sitting on a mattress beneath a nearby tree, where both families are spending their nights. As Vesna points out, visiblyshaken, all four attacks were very violent, and the attackers even used an electric shock baton on her brother.

– “The manwho is constantly trying to throw us out on the street, went into the house last timeat6:30 in the morningwhile the children were still sleeping, and the people who came with him,already began to demolish the roof outside. Then they smashed the doors and windows, went inside and started to push us out. Everything was destroyed both from the outside and from the inside. There was only one mattress and a pair of blankets. All the children were crying, we were constantly stressed and scared”- says Vesna.

Slavoljub Marinković, from an informal association dealing with the problems of Roma in this municipality, says that he expects the state to condemn vandalism and aggression, and provide these families with protection and proper housing.

“While seeking a legal remedy, the irreparable damage is being created”

Jovana Vuković of theorganization Jednakost points out that the temporary measure of the European Court of Human Rights is very explicit, unlike the appeals and other legal remedies. “An appeal to the decision does not delay the eviction order and is not really an effective remedy. And all the available legal remedies are being exhausted, the family is faced with the consequences of the slow legal process.The removal of these people  from their home onto the street, would mean endangering their existence, and the violation of all other rights. Therefore, the court issued a provisional measure, “explains Jovana Vuković.