Hindus ask for halting Roma eviction in Belgrade

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Nevada (US), Aug 6 (ANI): Hindus have asked Serbia not to undertake reportedly proposed forced eviction of Roma families from capital Belgrade who have not been offered any adequate alternate housing.

Noted Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that according to reports, these families, which included many children, had not been promised alternative accommodation or compensation. bout 70 Roma families would reportedly be affected by this proposed demolition of Roma settlement in Vidikovac area of the capital, resulting in their becoming homeless. Many of these families settled here after being forcibly evicted from other areas of the city or other countries of Europe.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that it was clear mistreatment of helpless Roma families who should have been consulted by Belgrade authorities to find an acceptable solution and explore other alternatives before planning eviction. Roma rights should be respected, including compensation for the destruction of their settlement.

Rajan Zed argued that Serbia needed to do more for its frequently maltreated Roma populace who reportedly continued to suffer from human rights violations and brazen structural discrimination. They had been in the Balkans since 13th century and according to an estimate, number up to around 800,000.

Zed pointed out that many in this disenfranchised community reportedly lived in Serbia in abject poverty in illegal settlements, lacking basic infrastructure such as plumbing and electricity. Roma faced problems in accessing the healthcare system and education. They were viewed as others and treated as lower class. Many Roma children did not attend school and those who did often faced segregated schooling.

Serbia needed to craft a well-defined transparent and tangible Roma policy to break their cycle of poverty and exclusion; focusing on education, housing, employment, healthcare, etc., Rajan Zed stressed.

"The authorities have yet to find a long-term solution for Roma who, after seeing their homes repeatedly destroyed, live in constant fear of being evicted at any time without warning," according to Amnesty International. ed also urged His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of majority Serbian Orthodox Church to come to the rescue of Roma brothers/sisters in Serbia.

Home of popular "EXIT Festival", about 17 Roman Emperors were born in what is now Serbia. Boris Tadic is the President while Mirko Cvetkovic is the Prime Minister. (ANI)

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