Đurović: 10,000 refugees in Serbia in each moment, mostly from Asia and Africa

“At any given time, more than 10,000 refugees, mostly from Asia and North Africa, are staying in our country, and from the beginning of the year, in seven months, more than 65,000 people have passed through Serbia, of which the largest number managed to go further west”, said executive director of the Center for Assistance to Asylum Seekers Radoš Ðurović.

Đurović stated for Tanjug that the accommodation capacity of the Commissariat for Refugees is 4,500 people, and that for this reason many find private accommodation, but there are also those who remain homeless. He points out that the situation is particularly difficult in the north part of the country, where more than 3,000 people are outdoors every day.

Additionally, Đurović underlines that Hungary “pushes” at least 600 people back to Serbia every day in violation of the readmission agreement, while on weekends that number can go from 1,000 to 3,000 people.

“The pressures on that border are increasing, in such a situation there are not enough accommodation places in the camps, which are limited. In the territory of Vojvodina, the capacities are limited, even when people are admitted to the camps, they stay in tents in camps where very few people have conditional accommodation for this situation and weather conditions, especially for the following period, which is autumn and winter”, said Đurović.

Most refugees in Serbia come from Afghanistan, about 40 per cent, then from Syria between 18 and 20 per cent, 15 per cent from Pakistan, 10 per cent from the countries of North Africa and the Middle East.

“Legal Invisibility”

Đurović says that those who come to Serbia generally do not want to stay, pointing out that they are legally invisible in Serbia.

“Regardless of the fact that they are accommodated in the Commissariat’s accommodations, most of them are not in any procedure. They are legally invisible, they do not exist for our institutions even if they are accommodated in our camps”, stated Đurović adding that out of 65,000 people, only 2,653 managed to express their intention for asylum in a period of the first seven months of this year while  10 of them received asylum.

In his word, those statistics show that the system does not work at all and that a large number of them do not see the opportunity to build their lives here because of the system’s failure.

Đurović points out that the situation is getting worse because Serbia is facing constant returnees of refugees from Hungary, Croatia and Romania, while the one who returns are often at risk of health or psychosocial problems and need help. In these situations appear smuggling groups who try to provide these people with accommodation and re-smuggling, and in this way earn huge money, says Đurović, stating that the smuggling group who mobilizes citizens from areas near the borders to earn money are in increase.

“This creates a serious problem in our fight against smuggling and leads to a situation as serious as it was a month and a half ago in Subotica when there was an armed conflict. Even today, the conflict between smuggling criminal groups, which are not only migrants, but also made up of our people, is smouldering in the north of the country, so today we are witnessing that there are conflicts on the outskirts of the villages, and this creates additional tension for the citizens,” highlights Đurović adding that Serbian institutions should be more active in resolving this issue.

Refugees from Ukraine

“Apart from refugees from Asia and Africa, since the beginning of the war in Ukraine more than 90,000 people have come to Serbia from Ukraine, and more than 16,600 people have registered their stay”, says Đurović.

These people are in private accommodation, trying to settle in. Moreover, Đurović adds that it is important that they stay in urban areas because here the help is easier accessible and the access to the labour market as well as health care is more accessible.

Regarding the migration and refugees crisis in Europe, Đurović points out that situation is also difficult and that refugees from Ukraine who passes through Serbia try to reach the EU as well. This is why Europe is trying to slow down that migration, especially those who go through Turkey and the Balkans.

Slowing down migration includes countries in the Balkans and Serbia, which seem to be the main actor here and a stable collaborator in the fight against smuggling and illegal migration, says Đurović.

He adds that Serbia is in a hard situation when it comes to migration, since it is not even a member of the EU, which makes its position difficult, while on the other hand, it does not have adequate cooperation with North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Bulgaria, and in that sense, it cannot stop any kind of migration.

Difficult to determine the reason for the arrival of refugees the visa-free regime

Đurović says that it is difficult to say whether people come to Serbia because of the visa-free regime that Serbia has with many countries, but what can be noticed,  is that citizens from Burundi come to Serbia more and more and that they are the second population in terms of the number of people who express their intention to seek asylum in Serbia.

“However, according to some of the data we have, these are not dramatic figures. Somewhere around 650 people expressed their intention to seek asylum with us, and how many entered the country and continued on, remains to be determined by the border police, who have all the data. They are coming also from India, some are trying to reach the West, but it is very difficult to connect all political and other decisions with concrete actions on the ground. This is not the situation we had a few years ago with Iran when a huge number of refugees came due to the visa-free regime and tried are further to the west,” he said.

Đurović also commented on the dismissal of Commissioner for Refugees Vladimir Cucić, stating that the arrival of Nataša Stanisavljević, the former secretary for social affairs of Belgrade, to that position is probably a sign of some changes. “We are waiting to see how the numerous problems that the Commissariat has so far failed to solve will be resolved,” said Đurović.

This post is also available in: Italiano

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

scroll to top