Anti-eviction activists want to prove unconstitutionality of law on evictions

The main goal of the Joint Action Roof Over Our Heads' initiative is to protect the people at risk of being evicted from their only home.

The Joint Action Roof Over Our Heads (the Roof) submitted the Initiative for the Assessment of the Constitutionality of the Law on Enforcement and Security Interest to the Serbian Constitutional Court and held a press conference at the Media Centre in Belgrade. 

The initiative supplies the Constitutional Court with arguments based on which it can initiate a Constitutional Assessment Procedure of the Law on Enforcement and Security Interest. Still, it is up to the court to decide to start such a process or not.

One of the primary goals of this initiative is to protect the people whose only home is the subject of enforcement, lawyer Nevena Nikolić explained at a press conference. Nikolić wondered if it is in the spirit of a democratic society to allow a debtor to be evicted from their only home.

Nikolić pointed out the provisions of the Law on Enforcement and Security Interest that violate the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia. One such provision authorizes the executor to enter the apartment of the debtor without their consent. Such a legal provision violates the right to inviolability of the apartment guaranteed by the Constitution.

The Law on Enforcement and Security exemplifies that the state authorities make laws that suit the interest of powerful social actors, The Roof’s activist Ivana Anđelković stated at the press conference.

In addition to not defending citizens’ only homes, the Law on Enforcement criminalizes solidarity actions through which activists and citizens provide support to the vulnerable.

“The Law on enforcement and security interest represents a major violation of human rights”, said lawyer Jelena Pavlović.

In addition to the harmful effects of the Law on Enforcement, Jelena Pavlović also drew attention to the activities of the Chamber of Executors. Instead of acting in favour of rectifying the law, The Chamber asked the public prosecutor’s office to ban the Joint Action Roof over our heads and filed criminal charges against police officers who refused to participate in forced evictions. 

As we wrote earlier, the right to adequate housing is a human right guaranteed by international conventions, which are part of the legal order of the Republic of Serbia. However, one in five people in the world and one in ten people in Serbia fear losing the roof over their heads. With the onset of the pandemic, adequate housing conditions have become even more important, because isolation at home was recognised as one of the main measures in preventing the spread of the coronavirus. However, forced evictions of people from their only homes have continued even during the pandemic, and activists fighting against evictions are still subjected to pressure on the part of bailiffs and creditors, but also the state.


Translation from Serbian: Iskra Krstić

This article was ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED in Serbian on Nov 15, 2021.


Foreign workers in Zrenjanin forced to live in extremely poor accomodation

Building and Wood Workers International: The Serbian government shouldn’t allow investors to behave like this