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Serbia (2021)

Legislation of the Republic of Serbia


The legislation of the Republic of Serbia does not recognize informal settlements in the land acquisition process for projects of public interest. According to the regulations of the Republic of Serbia, any person who unlawfully settles in or occupies someone else’s property, shall be forced to leave it. Informal settlements are an example of unlawful occupation and use of someone’s else property. On the other hand, international financing institutions recognize these types of settlement, and consider them entitled to certain compensation. 


Documents that currently define the social inclusion policy framework in Serbia are:

-        the existing Strategy for the Social Inclusion of Roma Men and Women in the Republic of Serbia 2016 - 2025, 

-        the Baseline Study for development of the Strategy for Roma Inclusion in Serbia harmonized with Europe 2020 Strategy, 

-        the First and Second National Reports on social inclusion and poverty reduction in Serbia, 

-        the National Program for Integration of the Republic of Serbia into the European Union, 

-        the National Strategy for Sustainable Development, 

-        the National strategy for Economic Development of the Republic of Serbia 

-        and other relevant strategic documents.    


As a first instance, the state is expected to develop strategies and plans to avoid resettlement and are obliged to carry out resettlement only as a final resort. During this process, the state is also obliged to protect and fulfil human rights of the inhabitants to be resettled, under several international legal acts (the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, etc.) which protect the human right to adequate housing and related human rights. 


Below is the list of the main Serbian legislation applicable to the project:


-        The Law on Expropriation provides for a legislative framework for the expropriation of property in the Republic of Serbia for persons who have formally legal rights to property (land/facilities). Persons living on the land to be expropriated, who do not have a legal right to the land and/or facilities they use, as it is the case with the persons living in the area covered by this project and which is in the public ownership of the City of Belgrade, are not entitled to any compensation according to the Law on Expropriation in Serbia.


-        The Law on Housing and Maintenance of Residential Buildings deals with the issue of housing of socially disadvantaged persons through the “Housing Support”. Accordingly, various types of housing support are proposed, which the Republic of Serbia, at all levels of government, provides to each its citizen who is homeless, that is, without an appropriate apartment in terms of this law, and from social, economic, and other reasons cannot, by its own means, solve the housing need under market conditions for himself/herself and his/her household. 


-        The Law on Social Protection guarantees all citizens the right to various forms of financial social benefits

-        and some social protection services. 


-        Pursuant to the Law on Health Insurance of the Republic of Serbia, all vulnerable groups, particularly the Roma, have the right to free health care.


-        The Law on Employment and Unemployment Insurance of the Republic of Serbia provides for special measures aimed at protecting the most vulnerable groups (including Roma), as well as the obligation of the National Employment Service to apply active employment measures and ensure the application of affirmative action measures.


To exercise the above-mentioned rights, primarily in social protection, education, health and employment

is closely linked to the possession of personal documents - ID cards, birth certificates, certificates of citizenship and permanent residence.


Gaps between National Legislation and IFC/EBRD Requirements


Despite a number of similarities between the objectives and approaches as well as substantial overlaps between the IFC/EBRD requirements and the domestic legislation, some key differences have also been identified.


The key gap between Serbian law and IFC/EBRD requirements is the recognition and addressing of informal income, namely waste picking on the existing waste dump. Under the EBRD and IFC policies, all people whose livelihoods, including informal ones, are affected by the project must be assisted to improve or at least restore these livelihoods to pre-project levels.


National legislation doesn't have specific provisions required by IFC and EBRD Policies, such as consultations with affected people, the establishment and implementation of a project grievance mechanism, as well as monitoring the implementation of livelihood restoration measures and reporting on progress and outcomes.

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