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Hotel complex construction and displacement of Roma families, Skopje, Macedonia

Forced eviction exposed Roma communities to cramped and unhygienic conditions in shelters and at risk of racially-motivated violence.


Roma families live in a community near the Vardar River under the Kale Fortress in the municipality of Centar, Skopje (the country’s capital). They live in the Polygon settlement with no tenure to the land, in makeshift dwellings they have built out of available materials such as paper, wood, plastic bags, and cardboard. The living conditions in the settlement is poor. In particular, the only water source for the community is a single water pump located far away from the dwellings. The Ministry of Transport and Communication used to own the land on which the settlement is located. [1]

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Hotel complex construction and displacement of Roma families, Skopje, Macedonia
Country:Macedonia, FYR
State or province:Kale or Polygon
Location of conflict:Skopje
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Water access rights and entitlements
Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Specific commodities:Land
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The community used to live in homes they built on the “Poligon site” (so-called because it is near a driving “polygon” used for people learning to drive) in the Municipality of Centar in Skopje. Like many Romani people in Macedonia, after centuries of antigypsyism, they are very poor. On 1 August 2016, their homes were destroyed without any warning. The demolition was based on an order to “clean” the site.

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Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:100-150
Start of the conflict:01/01/1998
Company names or state enterprises:Amadeus Group DOOEL from Albania - Plan to build an hotel
Relevant government actors:The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and the Municipality of Center
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:European Roma Rights Centre
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Fires, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Waste overflow, Other Environmental impacts
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases, Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Other socio-economic impacts, Increase in violence and crime
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (undecided)
Proposal and development of alternatives:Community members move in and out of the improvised shelters, after they were evicted due to a hotel complex construction, that never took place.No alternative was proposed for the Roma. The Roma lack food and medicine, because of their impoverishment and because the authorities have not taken steps to guarantee their right to housing, environmental safety, and health care.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The situation remains unchanged as of today (20.09.2019). Roma were evicted and live now in improvised shelters with no access to water and sanitation. Therefore the Roma community faces health problems and is exposed to environmental hazards and risks.
Sources & Materials

[1] Data based on fieldwork activities in Polygon undertaken by Mustafa Asanovski on 27.06.2019.

[2] Data based on fieldwork activities in Polygon undertaken by Mustafa Asanovski on 27.06.2019.

[2] Roma living under 'Kale" remains to live under an open sky, the state yet promise housing containers
[click to view]

[click to view]

[4] European Roma Right Center

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[3]Video of Roma living in the place called "Kale"
[click to view]

Other comments:
Meta information
Contributor:Mustafa Asanovski. E-mail: [email protected]
Last update29/10/2019
Conflict ID:4313
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