15 – 21 April 2020
➢ A heavy presence of police and military troops continued in and around centers in Serbia, failing to yield any improvement of the situation. Some of the recent repressive actions can only be described as an open intimidation of migrants without
any clear reason and against international humanitarian laws – using surveillance drones flying low above the tents or parading with heavy vehicles in camps both during the day and during the night.
➢ During his visit to Obrenovac RTC on April 16, Serbian Minister of Defense Aleksandar Vulin stated that migrants present a security and health risk to Serbian citizens, stressing that the camps will remain locked until the end of pandemic, guarded by the Serbian Army. Soon after, Obrenovac migrants demolished an internal CCTV system installed for camp’s surveillance, continuing tense relations
with the authorities.
➢ According to local media, another massive incident occurred on Easter Sunday in Adasevci Reception Center when approx. 50 migrants tried to leave (as an act of nonviolent protest). This protest also came as a result of dissatisfaction over being locked in overcrowded government run centers, inadequate services and in this case,
repeated complaints over poor food quality. The riot was halted when an officer of the Serbian Armed Forces fired warning bullets into the air. This is the second time that live bullets were used in Serbian camps against non-armed refugees and migrants in the state of emergency.
➢ In the 7th week of COVID-19 outbreak, the centers are not yet capable of fulfilling the universal recommendations on social distancing, quarantine requirements and
➢ A boat with migrants capsized on the Serbia-Romania border last week, according to Romanian police. Allegedly, the boat carried 2 Serbian smugglers and 16 migrants of different origins (Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Palestine). Two persons drowned,
eight were reported missing and eight were rescued. Official report on the incident has yet to be issued, however it has been shown once again how illegal movement through Serbia is still very strong despite the lockdown.
➢ Deutsche Welle (DW) in Serbia reported on a mysterious international agreement between Austria and Serbia, which allegedly gives an option to Austria to return rejected asylum seekers on behalf they have previously passed through Serbia and their deportation to countries of origin is not possible. The Austrian Ministry of Interior confirmed that there is such a “working agreement” However, details have
been marked as secret and it is unclear whether or not the agreement has been implemented so far. Info Park expects this information to cause additional stir on Serbian political scene, since several right wing, anti migrant parties were accusing the government of “a secret agreement” between Austria and Serbia that has now
been formally confirmed. The right-wing groups accused Serbian authorities of secretly implementing the agreement in the first days of camps lockdown, bringing busloads of migrants from Austria to RTCs overnight. No reaction from the Serbian officials was noted so far.
➢ Serbia faced the longest general lockdown of 84 hours during the weekend. Results of fight against COVID-19 on Monday, 20 April, in Serbia are: Confirmed cases - 6,630, Deaths - 125, total number of tested people: 41,812. None of the 8,900 refugees, asylum seekers or migrants in Serbia have tested positive for COVID-19.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
➢ Although displacement of asylum seekers and other migrants to the new camp Lipa near Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina, was announced in March, it has not yet occurred. However, according to local B&H media, the first migrants should be accommodated this week, due to the coronavirus crisis. Fifty tents in total were erected on this site, which should accommodate 1,000 migrants.
➢ Following the closure of the migrant camps due to coronavirus pandemic, the restrictions on the movement of refugees and migrants thought Greece have been extended until 10 May. Meanwhile, a fire destroyed parts of one of Greece’s largest migrant camps on the Aegean island of Chios. The fire tore through Vial camp
destroying some accommodation and administrative facilities leaving a few hundred homeless. Three migrants have been arrested, according to Infomigrants portal.