In the first part of our series ‘Europe’s Outsourced Refugees,’ we report from Belgrade on how illegal pushbacks of asylum seekers along the Balkan route are leaving refugees invisible and unprotected.
In ihrem früheren Leben war die 48-jährige Lence Zdravkin aus Veles in Mazedonien Journalistin. Sie arbeitete in der kleinen privaten Fernsehstation ihres Ehemannes Angel. Das Haus der beiden liegt direkt an den Gleisen, der Hauptstrecke der Eisenbahnlinie die durch Mazedonien führt, und diese Bahnstrecke hat das Leben der Familie Zdravkin von Grund auf verändert.
Manche sind erfroren, manche vor Erschöpfung zusammengebrochen. Manche wurden Opfer von Gewaltverbrechen und manche wurden nachts, als sie entlang der Eisenbahnlinien liefen, von einem Zug erfasst und getötet. Es gibt viele Tote auf der Balkanroute. Genaue Zahlen aber gibt es nicht.
Wohin Obergrenzen für Flüchtlinge und das Gerede darüber führen, hat unsere Gastautorin in Serbien gesehen. Sie besuchte ein wildes Flüchtlingslager.
I.A.S from Pakistan passed away, who illegally entered Macedonia, and was attacked on 16.2.2017, on the highway Skopje – Kumanovo (near the Bunarxhik village), transmits Anadolu Agency (AA). The information was confirmed from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Republic of Macedonia, announcing that a person out of two passed away from attacks on 16.2.2017. “Regarding the “robbery” incident on 25.2.2017, a doctor in the department of neurosurgery at the Clinic Center – Skopje, announced that the attacked I.A.S. passed away”, MIA announced.
Overview of the main changes since the first report. The first report was last published in March 2016:
Asylum reform: The adoption of the new Asylum Act, initially foreseen for 2016, has been postponed. The draft of the new Asylum Act has been shared with civil society representatives for comments, and was also received positively by the European Commission. The new law will introduce both accelerated and border procedures. Bearing in mind that the Asylum Office is understaffed even in light of the single existing procedure, it is reasonable to assume that additional personnel will be required to implement the additional proceedings. It is otherwise difficult to envision adequate implementation of the new law in reality.
Access to the territory: In July 2016, the Serbian Government adopted a decision to form mixed patrols of the army and police to strengthen the border with FYROM and Bulgaria. The Ministry of Defence reported in December 2016 that more than 18,000 migrants had been prevented from illegally crossing the border from Bulgaria. Between September and December 2016, the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights received 13 complaints concerning collective expulsions or push-backs to FYROM that involved approximately 750 persons. Those removed included people who had predominantly been residing in the reception centre in Preševo, as well as persons who had been intercepted by patrols of the police or army at the border, or mixed patrols deeper within the territory of Serbia.
Accommodation: By the end of 2016, more than 7,000 people were residing in Serbia, the vast majority of whom (around 82%) were accommodated in camps along the border where they were waiting for their turn to be admitted into Hungary. The remainder stayed in the streets of Belgrade and border areas with Hungary.
The Ministry of Interior opened additional temporary reception centres to respond to the increase in refugees and migrants.
Content of protection
Integration assistance: In December 2016, a Decree on the Manner of Involving Persons Recognized as Refugees in Social, Cultural and Economic Life (“Integration Decree”) was enacted and entered into force in January 2017. The Decree foresees assistance various areas crucial to integration such as access to the labour market and education, including assistance in recognition of qualification and language courses. The Decree only refers to recognised refugees and does not explicitly cover subsidiary protection beneficiaries. However, due to its entry into force in January 2017, it remains to be seen how it will be implemented in practice.
In the night between February 2 and 3, Afghani national Rahmat Ullah Hanife (22) drowned in the Tisa River on the Serbian-Hungarian border. This was announced on Monday by Info Park – a refugee support network jointly launched by Fund B92 and Trag Foundation in Serbia. According to Info Park, Rahmat Ullah tried to cross the frozen river with the group of 15 refugees and migrants who were organized by a smuggler from Pakistan, charging 2,000 EUR each for this extremely risky attempt to reach the European Union. The group also included six minors, aged 10-17. The smuggler divided them into groups and lead them to the river where he encouraged them to walk across ice towards village Horgos in Hungary. Rahmat Ullah was second in line when the ice broke under their feet.