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Hindus condemn Roma families' eviction in Belgrade

August 14, 2011 - Nevada (US)

Hindus have strongly condemned the reported forcible eviction of Roma (Gypsy) families in Serbian capital Belgrade, leaving many of them homeless, including children.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was morally wrong to reportedly force these families out without offering any alternative accommodation or compensation, thus making them homeless.

"This unacceptable practice must not continue, and the authorities must do more to seek out adequate housing solutions to ensure Roma families can bring up their children in safety and with dignity", an Amnesty International statement says.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that it was clear mistreatment of helpless Roma families and viable alternatives should have been explored before planning eviction. Roma rights should be respected, Zed stressed.

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 said.

Zed 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.


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