Stop the new Amendments to the Law on Enforcement and Security

To His Excellency Ambassador of Serbia in Romania, Branko BRANKOVIĆ

In memory of Ljubica Staji, who recently committed suicide rather than being evicted from her home.

We, the Block for Housing in Romania, express our concern regarding the recent legislative developments in the Republic of Serbia, that would further enable illegitimate evictions without housing relocation, enforcement without court trials and auctions of homes, as well as the oppression of solidarity movements for housing rights, as described here: http://www.masina.rs/eng/no-one-without-home-protest-giving-authorisations-private-enforcement-officers/

Ms. Leilani Farha – Special United Nations Rapporteur on adequate housing – lists the UN international human rights provisions covering the right to adequate housing here: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Housing/Pages/InternationalStandards.aspx

As the Republic of Serbia has signed international UN treaties that guarantee the right to housing for all and no eviction without housing relocation, we make a request for public information on the following questions:
1. How are the UN provisions regarding the right to adequate housing respected and put into practice by Serbian public authorities?
2. How does the Republic of Serbia respect the human right to a just trial for each person – also meaning no enforcement without court trials?
3. How do the local and national authorities support solidarity movements for housing rights?

In solidarity with people threatened by evictions, we ask you to use every means available in order to oppose the adoption of the proposed amendments to the Law on Enforcement and Security that will worsen the right to housing for the people of Serbia.

Looking forward to your answer,
The Block for Housing
The Block is a descentralized network of organizations which fight to the empowerment and political organization of communities against housing injustice

CALL UPON CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Public social housing! Priority of the European Parliament Agenda for 2019-2023

SUPPORT THE ADOPTION OF A EUROPEAN HOUSING STRATEGY THAT ALLOWS FOR AND ALSO REQUIRES THAT MEMBER STATES

  • REGULATE REAL ESTATE BUSINESS FOR THE BENEFIT OF PUBLIC GOOD,
  • SUPPORT THE PRODUCTION OF PUBLIC SOCIAL HOUSING AND OTHER TYPES OF NOT-FOR-PROFIT HOUSING,

IN ORDER TO ENSURE UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO ADEQUATE HOUSING IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO HOUSING

download our call upon candidates and future decision makers

#Allforprofit: The negative impact of World Bank involvement in the politics of housing in Romania

#Allforprofit: The negative impact of World Bank involvement in the politics of housing in Romania

Position paper of the Block for Housing (Blocul pentru Locuire)

I. The Block for Housing is critical towards the 2018 edition of the Bucharest “Housing Forum” and the housing policy proposals presented there.

II. The WB contribution to privatization, commodification and housing precariousness in post-socialist Romania

III. Main shortcomings of the WB Forum Proposal

IV. The perspective of the Block for Housing on the need for public housing

Continue reading #Allforprofit: The negative impact of World Bank involvement in the politics of housing in Romania

Transformations of housing provision in Romania: Organizations of subtle violence

by Ioana Florea and Mihail Dumitriu

originally published in LeftEast

This article is based on empirical data and is a small part of an ongoing research project on housing struggles and transformations in housing policies in Romania. We look at these transformations within the wider historical and economic context, outlining some of the links between privatization and austerity measures, individualization and privatization of housing provision, and the role of NGOs as subtle facilitators of such (often violent) processes.

Waves of housing policy in the context of “transition”

In Romania, as in other ECE countries, “the implementation of housing reform became one of the first acts” of the post-89 governments, with “privatization, deregulation, and cuts in state funding” as its main principles (Stanilov 2007, p. 177). Scholars of post-socialism have shown that these policies were cemented by the influence of international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF overseeing the entire “transition” process (Pichler-Milanovic, 2001, apud Stanilov 2007, p. 176). In 1990, 30% of the housing stock was state owned (Vincze, 2017) – including buildings constructed during socialism (especially blocks of flats) but also buildings nationalized in the 1950s from the richer strata (especially villas, mansions, and small apartment blocks). After 1990, the housing reform followed three main paths:

  1. The rapid and continuous sale of the state owned stock, which today stands at less than two percent of the country’s housing stock.
  2. The deregulation and persisting lack of regulations with regard to urban development, working as a form of support for the private real-estate sector. In the mid 2000s, the retreating state informally shifted the responsibility for drafting urban regulations to the private sector (a process sometimes legitimized as participatory working group practice). This opened new legal doors for private accumulation through dispossession.
  3. Re-privatization through restitutions (to former pre-1950 owners, their heirs, or their legal rights-buyers) of the nationalized housing stock, at first through financial compensation (for inhabited buildings) and in-kind (for unused buildings), and then through in-kind complete restitutions of buildings (despite the fact the state tenants were still living there and no relocation solution was envisaged).

Continue reading Transformations of housing provision in Romania: Organizations of subtle violence