Report on the situation of migrants in Serbia in autumn 2016

This report describes the violence of the border regime erected and fortified as part of the gradual closure of the Balkan corridor since the end of 2015. A bit more than one year ago, the Hungarian government finished constructing the fences along the Serbo-Hungarian and Croatian-Hungarian border, and a bit more than 6 months ago the entrance to the Balkan corridor at the Greek-Macedonian border in Idomeni was closed completely. The logic and consequences of the closure of flight routes manifest themselves in the daily violence of the border regime and its zones of control and coercion.

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Afghan asylum seekers stranded at Hungary-Serbia border

More than 300 migrants in Belgrade marched toward Hungary’s border with Serbia on Tuesday, appealing for European nations to let them in. An estimated 6,000 people are stranded in Serbia due to the border closures, most of whom fled countries such as Afghanistan, Iran and Syria. Though Hungary currently admits around 30 people per day from Serbia, most refugees and migrants are essentially gridlocked, with nowhere to go.

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Recent Repression on People on the Move in Serbia

Since the 15th of July, the day that prime minister Aleksandar Vučić held a speech [1] about the problems Serbia is facing at the moment, the situation in Serbia for people on the move has become more and more tense. The speech was an awaited response to the legal changes made in Hungary on July 5th (“8 kilometer” push-back law [2]) which set a legal frame for the Hungarian authorities to push back thousands of people to Serbian territory.

Among other points, Vučić mentioned in his speech that migrants are one of the biggest problems Serbia is facing at this time and that more repressive measures will be taken in order to gain control over the irregular movement of people. One of the measures put into practice has been a “joint venture” of police and military in order to guard the southern borders towards Macedonia and Bulgaria. As of August 30, 4,428 people have been kept from entering Serbia by military and police units, while within the same operation 673 who were encountered on Serbian territory have been brought to official reception centers[3]. The military officials don’t use the word ‘push-back’ or mention any direct contact with the groups, rather they state that people “gave up” when they saw the Serbian forces. Thereby, Serbia maintains its humanitarian vocabulary used to distinguish itself from other Balkan countries like Hungary and Macedonia who boast with numbers of people they successfully pushed back. Which methods were used to deter people and why these 4,428 people did not apply for asylum in Serbia but instead went back is not mentioned. Probably the mere sight of a police officer is not enough to stop people from moving on, yet their stories and voices remain silent and invisible.

On the one hand, this increasingly repressive policy changes can be seen as a national answer to the reality that was created by the northern neighbour Hungary and to the fact that from one day to the other people got stuck in Serbia with no option to move on. On the other hand, these changes can also be seen in the frame of a European Border Regime that consists of more than just the legal closure of European borders. This will be elaborated in the following.

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Stacked on the Balkan Route – AYS Special Report from Serbia

25.08.2016 | AreYouSyrious?

Number of refugees arriving to Serbia increases every day. All of them are passing through the Balkan Route, being exploited by smugglers, forced to hide from the police, humiliated, but full of hope to reach their final destination. Along the way they are met with many volunteers who are doing their best, despite numerous obstacles, to help those who are in need. Serbia is not final destination for most of the refugees, but facing closed borders they are forced to wait. AYS volunteers team gathered information about situation in Serbia, pointing towards some of the most urgent issues and problems refugees but also volunteers are facing daily.

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Refugee Voice Belgrade

Als Reaktion auf die zunehmende Repression seitens staatlicher Behörden, haben Refugees aus Belgrad eine facebook Seite erstellt, auf der sie Gedanken, Proteste, Bilder und Informationen mit einer breiteren Öffentlichkeit teilen wollen. Um den Zugang für alle zu ermöglichen, wird von der Seite auf eine Gruppe verwiesen, der alle Menschen, die ein facebook Profil haben beitreten können.

Hier zur facebook Seite.

Ein Jahr nach Keleti

Die Situation für Menschen auf der Flucht in Serbien verschärft sich weiterhin. Da sich diese Woche der erste March of Hope jährt, wird wieder vermehrt über die Balkanroute berichtet. Hier daher eine Zusammenstellung von verschiedenen Berichten über Serbien/die Balkanroute im Allgemeinen, bzw. die Situation an den Grenzen und vor den Transitzonen im Speziellen.

Berichte über Serbien/die Balkanroute

Hier über die Situation in Serbien im Hinblick auf den kommenden Herbst/Winter weiterlesen. (Balkan Insight | En)
Hier ein Überblick über die Situation in Belgrad, Kelebija und Horgos. (Are You Syrious | En)
Hier ein kurzer Abriss über die Situation auf der Balkanroute von Griechenland bis Österreich (Zeit Online)

Berichte über die Situation vor den Transitzonen

Hier ein etwas ausführlicherer Bericht über Horgos (Spiegel Online).
Und hier ein weiterer Bericht (Zeit Online).

Berichte über die Grenzpatrouillen und Push-Backs Richtung Bulgarien und Mazedonien.

Seit etwas über einem Monat praktiziert Serbien ebenfalls verschärfte Grenzpatrouillen an den Südgrenzen zu Bulgarien und Mazedonien. Seit dem 22. Juli sind mehr als 5000 Menschen zurückgepusht worden. Im Gegensatz zur Serbisch-Ungarischen Grenze stehen die Südgrenzen nicht im Fokus der internationalen Aufmerksamkeit. Daher gibt es nur wenige Artikel, die die Situation abdecken.

Hier ein Bericht über die Grenzpatrouillen (RTS | Serbisch).
Hier ein Artikel über einen 20 Jährigen Mann aus Afghanistan, der an der Grenze zu Bulgarien erschossen wurde (DW | En).
Hier ein weiterer Artikel über den Todesfall (Balkan Insight | En).

critical reports and analysis about serbia as a country of transit and origin