UNHCR: 108,828 migrants and refugees entered Serbia last year

According to official data, 108,828 refugees and migrants entered Serbia last year, and currently, 1,162 people are housed in one of the asylum and reception centres, said the representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Soufiane Adjali.

In an interview for Politika daily, Adjali also said that in 2023, 196 people applied for asylum in Serbia, and nine of them were granted one.

He added that the largest number of refugees and migrants who entered Serbia was from Syria (45 percent), 22 percent of migrants came from Afghanistan, followed by Morocco and Pakistan. Regarding people who seek refuge in Serbia, unaccompanied minors are a particularly vulnerable group.  

“Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, more than 335,500 Ukrainian citizens have entered Serbia. At the end of January this year, there were about 4,200 refugees from Ukraine in Serbia, and at the end of February 1,089 people were placed under temporary protection,” Adjali said.

Adjali notes that “those people have decided to seek asylum and who have been granted international protection have access to education and employment in Serbia, as well as other rights and obligations”, and adds:” They contribute to society with their talents, skills and knowledge, as well as experiences gained in other cultures and markets.”

Adjali also highlights that “refugees and migrants, who often move along the same routes, albeit for different reasons, deserve full respect and respect for their human rights and dignity”, adding:” However, the reasons that motivate these people to leave their countries are different and consequently the international legal obligations towards those whose lives may be in danger if they return to their countries of origin differ. In public discourse, media and statistical reports, there is a worrying trend that the term “migrant” is used for both refugees and migrants. This is not only incorrect but can lead to serious consequences for people in need of international protection. The mislabeling of refugees and asylum seekers as migrants (or as “illegal” or “undocumented”) limits their access to special legal protection, including the right to cross borders to seek and obtain asylum. Such a practice can also put their lives at risk and threaten their safety”.

(Insajder, Politika, 10.03.2024)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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