Five Romani families, including children who were forcibly evicted from Belgrade to the Nis, a city in southern Serbia, are being denied water, sanitation and electricity.
Five Romani families, 18 people including children and a pregnant woman, who later gave birth, were resettled to an abandoned warehouse in Daniciceva Street in Nis without access to water, sanitation or electricity. They have been without access to water for more 10 weeks since being forcibly evicted from Belgrade on 26 April. It is
currently summer in Serbia and day-time temperatures are regularly over 35 degrees Celsius. There is no running water in the warehouse though the necessary infrastructure for it exists. The city authorities stated on 20 June that the water can be switched on relatively easily, and that it would be switched on by the end of that week. The water has still not been switched on, violating the families’ rights to adequate housing, water and
sanitation. The families have to fetch water in plastic containers from the nearest public waterpoint, located in a market, some 115 metres from the warehouse. This source of water is not continuous as the market is only open between 7 am and 3 pm; even when the market is open, the Roma are frequently denied access to the waterpoint by a market official. The only alternative source is a water point in the city centre more than a 30 minute walk away. The right to water requires that water be in, or in the immediate vicinity of where people live, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), where a water source is between 100 – 1000 metres away from a household, or where it takes between 5-30 minutes (including time spent waiting in a queue) to collect water, people are unlikely to be able to collect more than 20 litres of water per person and therefore face a risk to their health. In addition, the warehouse does not have adequate toilets as the ones that exist are unsanitary due to the lack of water.