Second UN Emergency Order: Macedonia Must Rehouse Pregnant Romani Women Made Homeless by Authorities

Budapest, Skopje, 9 January 2017: The Macedonian Government have been urged by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to provide suitable emergency housing, nutrition, clean water and immediate access to health care services, including to maternal health services for four Romani women made homeless by Macedonian authorities in Augustlast year. Three of the women are pregnant and the fourth has a new-born baby. All of the women were evicted from the settlement under the Kale Fortress, known as Poligon.

This is the second request made by the ERRC that the Committee has urgently responded to regarding pregnant Romani women from the same settlement. In November last year, the Committee requested from the Macedonian government to provide emergency housing, nutrition, clean water and immediate access to reproductive care for two other pregnant Roma, evicted from Poligon on the same day.

This week temperatures in the Macedonian capital are forecasted to plummet to below -20 °C. Representatives from the Inter - Municipal Center for Social Work visited Roma under the Kale Fortresson 5 January to offer temporary accommodation attwo public facilities for sheltering children with educational and social problems “Ranka Milanovikj” and “25 May” – Skopje. However, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy have stated they will only cover the living costs for seven days, or until the extreme weather has abated.

Whilst this move from the authorities is a step in the right direction, it is only a temporary solution and does not meet the longer term needs of these women who are in an extremely vulnerable position. All of the women represented before CEDAW suffer from a lack of proper nutrition, inability to maintain regular hygiene and they have experienced severe health complications because of poor access to water. The recent mother and her new-born child are both experiencinghealth problems after being exposed to extremely low temperatures.

“We have no water, no electricity, no heating. I cannot even have a bath since it is so cold. I have gone a whole month without a bath, and we are exposed to so many diseases because of these living conditions.” - explained one of the pregnant women.

Another said “Our life was a bit better before the evictions, when we had a house. Now it is very difficult. We live under the open sky in tents with no water or electricity. We are outside all the time and the weather is very cold. I am a single mother and I have no financial income or social support.”

Once again, we urge the Macedonian government to comply with the emergency orders from the UN Committee and provide these women with the emergency care necessary to ensure their own and their children’s wellbeing.

The ERRC will continue to push for remedies for these people who have been evicted by a state which allows homeless pregnant women and new-borns to suffer on their doorstep.

This press release is also available in Macedonian.

For more information contact:

Jonathan Lee
Communications Officer
European Roma Rights Centre
jonathan.lee@errc.org
+36 30 500 2118

Senada Sali
Lawyer
European Roma Rights Centre
senada.sali@errc.org
+36 30 950 0722

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