Serbia's Crvena Zvezda: A Roma Victory Against Eviction

Aleksandra Petrović (shown, center) from the UN Human Rights team and Dragana Sotirovski (shown, far right), the Mayor of Niš, visited the community and met with the residents. © Stefan Vidojević from MaxNova Creative


In February, the OHCHR highlighted a story of Roma victory in their article entitled, "Serbia's Crvena Zvezda: A Roma Victory Against Eviction". The article recounts  the plight of Mevla Čupi and 550 residents facing eviction from the settlement of Crvena Zvezda near Niš, Serbia. The residents endured prolonged power cuts and harsh living conditions as a tactic to force them out due to an unresolved property dispute. The community, established in the 1960s, faced pressure from a private company seeking commercial development, leading to power outages lasting months during harsh winters. The residents, including children, faced challenges like lack of basic hygiene facilities and reliance on candles for light. In 2016, residents sought help from the UN Human Rights team, leading to a visit by Aleksandra Petrović, and the initiation of a process to empower the community. By 2023, the city of Niš designated Crvena Zvezda for social housing, aiming to build apartments for all residents and promote inclusivity. Mevla Čupi emerged as a leader in the struggle, emphasizing the importance of fighting for Roma rights and achieving a better future while remembering the hardships faced.

To read the full article, visit the website of the OHCHR.