19/10/2010 Press release on the death of two Roma children in the fire in Lovanja, Kotor

15/10/2010 Notice on proposed amendments to the Bill on Ombudsman
22/10/2010 Information on the decision of the Supreme State Prosecutor to withhold information about the status of investigations of alleged human rights violations

19/10/2010 Press release on the death of two Roma children in the fire in Lovanja, Kotor

Human Rights Action expresses its grief over the tragic death of two Roma children from the Ljajic family who died in a fire in the Roma settlement, in Lovanja, Municipality of Kotor, on Saturday, 16 October 2010. We wish to remind that, in the Roma settlement Vrela Ribnicka in Podgorica alone, seven children died from fire since 1999, and we urge the relevant government authorities to undertake urgent and serious measures to prevent similar tragedies timely.

Ljajic family, as well as the families at Vrela Ribnicka and other Roma settlements in Montenegro, lived in a shack built of easily combustible tar paper, suggesting that, in terms of housing, they did not have basic living conditions. The tragedy of losing another two children in a fire in the Roma settlement must be perceived as an indication of the fact that the state is still not undertaking sufficient preventive and systematic measures to prevent mortality, especially that of children, and thus preserve the right to life of its citizens, laid down in the international right to life standard guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, European Convention on Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

We remind that the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights binds Montenegro to ensure everyone’s right to adequate housing and to continually work to improve living conditions for all people living on its territory. The right to adequate housing, as interpreted by the UN Committee for Human Rights, implies “the area providing protection from the cold, humidity, heat, rain, wind or other natural disasters; access to safe drinking water, electricity for cooking, heating and lighting, sanitary facilities and sewage.” At the same time, we are all well aware that the Roma settlements in Montenegro do not meet the minimum requirements in terms of living conditions.

We urge the Government to solve the basic problems of electricity, water and sewage systems in Roma settlements as soon as possible, and to adopt and implement the Strategy of social housing, which would regulate the minimum right to adequate housing for all people in Montenegro, regardless of their origin, nationality, ethnic or any other affiliation.