The Municipality of Pljevlja should take more serious account for the Roma community in the settlement of Trlica

After the residents of the Roma settlement in Trlica took a repetitive notice of the insufficient water supply in their settlement, the NGO Young Roma have requested, Igor Golubovic, the Municipality Mayor to urgently address this issue. We emphasize that on April 15, 2020, we also sent a letter with the same request to the Mayor of Pljevlja, but there was no formal response from them.

According to the information we received from the residents of this settlement, they have repeatedly pointed out this issue to the competent authorities as well as to the entire public. According to the information we have from them, they contacted the Pljevlja Fire Department with a request to help them and deliver water to the tanks set up in their settlement, but until this time, that did not happen. Additionally, a big problem, which they have also pointed out to us, is that if the water is delivered, the stocks will last only for two to three days at most.

Having in mind the current situation of the Covid-19 epidemic in Montenegro, on one side, and the fact that there are about 60 people – 11 families living in this Roma settlement, on the other side, it is necessary that the problem with the water supply should be solved immediately. Maintaining basic hygiene is crucial for the prevention of the spread of the Coronavirus epidemic, and since this settlement does not have an adequate approach to water supply, they cannot adequately implement the basic recommendations on personal hygiene and hygiene of the area in which they live, which were given by The National Coordination Body for Communicable Diseases of Montenegro.

TRLICA

The right of having water is a fundamental human right that has been recognized by the United Nations since 2010, and Montenegro, as a member of the United Nations, is obliged to ensure the unhindered enjoyment of this right by all its citizens. The basic human rights of safe drinking water and cleanliness apply to every human being and are fully recognized and supported by the European Union in its diplomatic efforts and development policy, and thus Montenegro as a leader in integration must provide all its citizens access to this right.

However, this is not the only problem that the residents of the Roma settlement in Trlica face. According to them, during the first wave of the epidemic, the help they received was quite small and did not meet the basic human needs, so they lacked in food and drink. Furthermore, due to the restricted movement, they were also unable to work during this time. That the situation in the settlement is very difficult is also shown by the fact that none of the residents has permanent employment, but secures their income from collecting and selling secondary raw materials, which is especially problematic during the Coronavirus epidemic. According to them, the Roma community in this settlement lives in extremely poor conditions. The settlement itself is a few kilometers away from the Municipality of Pljevlja and it is surrounded from all sides by a landfill of garbage. The big problem is the dust and the stench which spread from the municipal waste landfill. As a result, the children from the settlement are very often ill, and their health is seriously damaged.

Having all this in mind, we consider unacceptable the fact that even after several media stories about this settlement and appeals from organizations dealing with Roma community issues, as well as the residents of the Roma settlement Trlica, the Municipality of Pljevlja still shows no efforts to systematically solve these problems and help the Roma community. Therefore, we once again appeal to the Municipality of Pljevlja and the competent institutions to urgently find a solution to the above-mentioned problems and to take more serious accounts for the Roma community in the settlement of Trlica, in order to provide them with normal living conditions, with full respect to the human rights and with the dignity of all citizens.

Samir Jaha, Executive Director NGO Young Roma

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