The district of Vuka Vrčevića in Belgrade is home to hundreds of Roma people. For decades, they have lived in appalling conditions next to a dump, with neither running water nor sewage systems, in shacks originally designated as temporary buildings that have become permanent houses. The inhabitants earn a living mostly by collecting scrap and used cardboard. Some of these people are IDPs who escaped the war in Kosovo in the late 90s.
It is fair to say that in Serbia, like in many other European countries, the Roma people are a widely discriminated and forgotten minority.
Those who are able tend to leave for Western Europe to seek asylum. Because the EU has stated that Serbia is a ‘safe country of return’, they are usually deported back home.
Due to grave discrimination and lack of education, it is nearly impossible for the Roma to obtain regular work. Many of the adults living in the area can neither read nor write. Those who fled from Kosovo suffer, somehow, even more than the rest, as they had to leave their homes behind without being properly compensated for the loss. Most of the people living in Vuka Vrčevića and beyond remain unregistered inhabitants of Serbia with no access to public services.
Belgrade - Serbia