• In Serbia, migrant children left to fend for themselves on Belgrade’s streets

    Unaccompanied migrant minors are living on the streets of Serbia’s capital, even in the middle of winter. Their fate is in the hands of an international smuggling ring.

    A freezing wind blows through the streets of Belgrade as the residents of the Serbian capital prepare for the Orthodox Christmas on January 7. The stores are open despite coronavirus pandemic restrictions. Wrapped in thick coats, people saunter along the shopping streets or the new promenade on the banks of the Sava River.

    Things are quite different by the long-distance bus terminal on Zeleznicka Street, on the edge of downtown Belgrade. A group of children and teenagers hang out in a small park opposite the terminal, all of them refugees, unaccompanied minors aged 11 to 17, and most of them from Afghanistan.

    Some of the youngsters huddle under white blankets. “I bought them at the market across the street,” Sherkat said, his feet in sneakers with short socks. Some of the young people shiver from the cold, and fatigue is written all over their faces. They are waiting for a chance to continue their journey, to the Hungarian or Croatian border.

    Sherkat managed to get out of Serbia once. The situation on the EU side of the border was bad, he said. “In Croatia, the police stole my cell phone and sent me back.” The situation in the refugee camps in Serbia was difficult, he said, adding that since he did not have a registration card from the Serbian authorities, he had no access at all to aid.

    Children stay away from government agencies

    It is a problem familiar to Bogdan Krasic, who works for nongovernmental organization Save the Children International. “These children are on their way to other countries, they don’t want to stay in Serbia,” he said. Some children live in the official camps for asylum-seekers, but many live outside the camps, he added. “It is not easy to help the young people because they do not want to register,” Krasic said. “They want to go to western Europe and avoid aid organizations and the police.”

    Sherkat and his friends bunk in a construction site opposite the park, next to the lavishly renovated river promenade where investment projects worth billions are being built — shopping centers, hotels and office buildings. The construction site is deserted, but empty bottles and cans, mattresses and thin polyester blankets mark the spot where the boys camp out. It turns out Sherkat and a few other migrants took a bus to the Serbian town of Backa Palanka on the Croatian border in yet another effort to move on.

    Destination: France

    Rizvanullah and Ekram also want to move on as quickly as possible. The teenagers from Afghanistan — who assure us they are 15 years old — and two other boys spend the nights on the river promenade, wrapped in jackets and sleeping bags, but cold nevertheless. They do not have mattresses, so they spread out a thin plastic trash bag on the rocky ground.

    Rizvanullah wants to go to France, where he has relatives. He previously spent three-and-a-half years working in Turkey, but was not paid, so he moved on to Greece. “The Greek police beat me up and sent me back to Turkey,” he said. He made it to Belgrade via North Macedonia.
    ’They didn’t believe I’m a minor’

    Rizvanullah and Ekram have been in the Serbian capital 10 days. Rizvanullah would prefer to live in a camp for underage migrants, but has run into problems. “I’m 15 years old and I’ve already been to the camps in Obrenovac, Sid and Adasevci. They didn’t believe that I am a minor, they said I had to go to a camp for adults. They didn’t give me a card or papers.”

    Their stories are not unusual. Many minors travel from Turkey via Greece to the Western Balkans. In 2015 and 2016, there was great public interest in the so-called Balkan route, with aid organizations offering food and medical supplies. There was also more transparency, the agencies knew approximately how many people were in what place at a certain time.
    International smuggling ring

    Those times are a thing of the past despite the fact that there still is significant traffic on the Balkan route. The conditions that refugees face in Turkey and in Greece have led to a significant increase in migration on the route from Greece to Croatia and Hungary.

    A study by Save the Children’s Balkan Migration and Displacement Hub found that although the children travel alone, they are controlled by smugglers throughout. “They speak of a ’kachakbar,’ a kind of chief smuggler based in Afghanistan who is in touch with local smugglers,” said Katarina Jovanovic, a psychologist and researcher who interviewed 40 underage and unaccompanied refugees on the streets of Belgrade with her team for the study.

    Parents try to stay in touch

    Usually the parents would approach the kachakbar to send their eldest son on the journey to western Europe, she said, adding the trip would put them in debt. “People think the parents just let their children go and then forget about it, but they don’t. They try to maintain a certain level of control,” Jovanovic said.

    On the journey west, local smugglers, informed by the kachakbar in Afghanistan, get in touch with the children. Access to cash is also in the hands of local smugglers. “Most children hardly have any cash, they know it’s dangerous. Depending on the arrangement the parents have made, the smugglers on the ground give them small amounts of cash,” said Jovanovic. The children are in touch with their parents at least some of the time — the smugglers give them money for phone cards, but they control what the young migrants tell their parents.

    Children hush up violence, abuse

    In many cases, the children experience violence and abuse, sometimes even sexual abuse. But they won’t mention any of that to their parents, Jovanovic said. “They don’t want to worry their parents, they feel they must be strong and grow up.”

    “There is a system that protects the children sometimes, but in most cases it doesn’t, and the children experience terrible things,” Jovanovic said, adding there is no official aid for the young migrants. The coronavirus pandemic spelled the end for whatever aid groups were looking after unaccompanied minors on the Balkan route.

    No reliable data on migration

    In addition, there are no reliable figures on the current state of migration. “We see big discrepancies in the figures the UNHCR publishes at the national and regional levels,” Krasic said “We see children coming from Greece, so we suspect that their numbers are similar in the other countries on the Balkan route. But the UNHCR figures do not reflect that.” Save the Children does not know how many children were actually traveling in 2020, he said.

    Less reliable data on migration is part of the Balkan route countries’ refugee policy, Jovanovic argued, adding that only once did the authorities let her and her team talk to children, and that was back in 2018 for the study.

    Currently no one bothers, she said — not UNICEF nor the UNHCR or the International Red Cross. “We don’t really have access to data anymore, or it comes sporadically and is not translated into English. You can clearly see that the information policy has changed,” she said.

    https://www.dw.com/en/in-serbia-migrant-children-left-to-fend-for-themselves-on-belgrades-streets/a-56089115
    #réfugiés #mineurs #enfants #enfance #Belgrade #Serbie #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #SDF #sans-abri #MNA

  • The Frontier Within: The European Border Regime in the Balkans

    In the summer of 2015, the migratory route across the Balkans »entered into the European spotlight, and indeed onto the screen of the global public« (Kasparek 2016: 2), triggering different interpretations and responses. Contrary to the widespread framing of the mass movement of people seeking refuge in Europe as ›crisis‹ and ›emergency‹ of unseen proportions, we opt for the perspective of »the long Summer of Migration« (Kasparek/Speer 2015) and an interpretation that regards it as »a historic and monumental year of migration for Europe precisely because disobedient mass mobilities have disrupted the European regime of border control« (Stierl/Heller/de Genova 2016: 23). In reaction to the disobedient mass mobilities of people, a state-tolerated and even state-organized transit of people, a »formalized corridor« (Beznec/Speer/Stojić Mitrović 2016), was gradually established. To avoid the concentration of unwanted migrants on their territory, countries along the route—sometimes in consultation with their neighboring countries and EU member states, sometimes simply by creating facts—strived to regain control over the movements by channeling and isolating them by means of the corridor (see e.g. Hameršak/Pleše 2018; Speer 2017; Tošić 2017). »Migrants didn’t travel the route any more: they were hurriedly channeled along, no longer having the power to either determine their own movement or their own speed« (Kasparek 2016). The corridor, at the same time, facilitated and tamed the movement of people. In comparison to the situation in Serbia, where migrants were loosely directed to follow the path of the corridor (see e.g. Beznec/Speer/Stojić Mitrović 2016; Greenberg/Spasić 2017; Kasparek 2016: 6), migrants in other states like North Macedonia, Croatia, and Slovenia were literally in the corridor’s power, i.e. forced to follow the corridor (see Hameršak/Pleše 2018; Beznec/Speer/Stojić Mitrović 2016; Chudoska Blazhevska/Flores Juberías 2016: 231–232; Kogovšek Šalamon 2016: 44–47; Petrović 2018). The corridor was operative in different and constantly changing modalities until March 2016. Since then, migration through the Balkan region still takes place, with migrants struggling on a daily basis with the diverse means of tightened border controls that all states along the Balkan route have been practicing since.

    This movements issue wants to look back on these events in an attempt to analytically make sense of them and to reflect on the historical rupture of the months of 2015 and 2016. At the same time, it tries to analyze the ongoing developments of bordering policies and the struggles of migration. It assembles a broad range of articles reaching from analytical or research based papers shedding light on various regional settings and topics, such as the massive involvement of humanitarian actors or the role of camp infrastructures, to more activist-led articles reflecting on the different phases and settings of pro-migrant struggles and transnational solidarity practices. In an attempt to better understand the post-2015 border regime, the issue furthermore presents analyses of varying political technologies of bordering that evolved along the route in response to the mass mobilities of 2015/2016. It especially focuses on the excessive use of different dimensions of violence that seem to characterize the new modalities of the border regime, such as the omnipresent practice of push-backs. Moreover, the articles shed light on the ongoing struggles of transit mobility and (transnational) solidarity that are specifically shaped by the more than eventful history of the region molded both by centuries of violent interventions and a history of connectivity.

    Our transnational editorial group came together in the course of a summer school on the border regime in the Balkans held in Belgrade, Serbia, in 2018. It was organized by the Network for Critical Migration and Border Regime Studies (kritnet), University of Göttingen, Department of Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology (Germany), the Research Centre of the Academy of Sciences and Arts (Slovenia), the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research (Croatia), and the Institute of Ethnography SASA (Serbia). The summer school assembled engaged academics from all over the region that were involved, in one form or another, in migration struggles along the route in recent years.1 The few days of exchange proved to be an exciting and fruitful gathering of critical migration and border regime scholars and activists from different regional and disciplinary backgrounds of the wider Balkans. Therefore, we decided to produce this movements issue by inviting scholars and activists from the region or with a deep knowledge on, and experience with, regional histories and politics in order to share their analyses of the Balkan route, the formalized corridor, and the developments thereafter. These developments have left a deep imprint on the societies and regional politics of migration, but they are very rarely taken into consideration and studied in the West as the centuries long entanglements that connect the Balkan with the rest of Europe.

    In this editorial, we will outline the transnational mobility practices in the Balkans in a historical perspective that includes the framework of EU-Balkan relations. With this exercise we try to historize the events of 2015 which are portrayed in many academic as well as public accounts as ›unexpected‹ and ›new‹. We also intend to write against the emergency and escalation narrative underlying most public discourses on the Balkans and migration routes today, which is often embedded in old cultural stereotypes about the region. We, furthermore, write against the emergency narrative because it erodes the agency of migration that has not only connected the region with the rest of the globe but is also constantly reinventing new paths for reaching better lives. Not only the history of mobilities, migrations, and flight connecting the region with the rest of Europe and the Middle East can be traced back into the past, but also the history of political interventions and attempts to control these migrations and mobilities by western European states. Especially the EU accession processes produce contexts that made it possible to gradually integrate the (Western) Balkan states into the rationale of EU migration management, thus, setting the ground for today’s border and migration regime. However, as we will show in the following sections, we also argue against simplified understandings of the EU border regime that regard its externalization policy as an imperial top-down act. Rather, with a postcolonial perspective that calls for decentering western knowledge, we will also shed light on the agency of the national governments of the region and their own national(ist) agendas.
    The Formalized Corridor

    As outlined above, the formalized corridor of 2015 reached from Greece to Northern and Central Europe, leading across the states established in the 1990s during the violent breakdown of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and, today, are additionally stratified vis-à-vis the EU. Slovenia and Croatia are EU member states, while the others are still in the accession process. The candidate states Serbia, North Macedonia and Montenegro have opened the negotiation process. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo—still not recognized as a sovereign state by Serbia and some EU member states—have the status of potential candidates. However, in 2015 and 2016, the states along the corridor efficiently collaborated for months on a daily basis, while, at the same time, fostering separate, sometimes conflicting, migration politics. Slovenia, for example, raised a razor-wire fence along the border to Croatia, while Croatia externalized its border to Serbia with a bilateral agreement (Protokol) in 2015 which stated that the »Croatian Party« may send a »train composition with its crew to the railway station in Šid [in Serbia], with a sufficient number of police officers of the Republic of Croatia as escort« (Article 3 Paragraph 2).

    Despite ruptures and disputes, states nevertheless organized transit in the form of corridor consisting of trains, buses, and masses of walking people that were guarded and directed by the police who forced people on the move to follow the corridor’s direction and speed. The way the movements were speedily channeled in some countries came at the cost of depriving people of their liberty and freedom of movement, which calls for an understanding of the corridor as a specific form of detention: a mobile detention, ineligible to national or EU legislation (see Hameršak/Pleše 2018; Kogovšek Šalamon 2016: 44–47). In the context of the corridor, camps became convergence points for the heterogeneous pathways of movements. Nevertheless, having in mind both the proclaimed humanitarian purpose of the corridor, and the monumental numbers of people to whom the corridor enabled and facilitated movement, the corridor can be designated as an unprecedented formation in recent EU history. In other words: »The corridor – with all its restrictions – remains a historical event initiated by the movement of people, which enabled thousands to reach central Europe in a relatively quick and safe manner. […] But at the same time it remained inscribed within a violent migration management system« (Santer/Wriedt 2017: 148).

    For some time, a broad consensus can be observed within migration and border studies and among policy makers that understands migration control as much more than simply protecting a concrete borderline. Instead, concepts such as migration management (Oelgemoller 2017; Geiger/Pécoud 2010) and border externalization (as specifically spelled out in the EU document Global Approach to Migration of 2005) have become increasingly important. In a spatial sense, what many of them have in common is, first, that they assume an involvement of neighboring states to govern migration in line with EU migration policies. Second, it is often stated that this leads to the creation of different zones encircling the European Union (Andreas/Snyder 2000). Maribel Casas-Cortes and Sebastian Cobarrubias, for instance, speak of four such zones: the first zone is »formed by EU member states, capable of fulfilling Schengen standards«, the second zone »consists of transit countries« (Casas-Cortes/Cobarrubias 2019), the third zone is characterized by countries such as Turkey, which are depicted by emigration as well as transit, and the fourth zone are countries of origin. While Casas-Cortes and Cobarrubias rightly criticize the static and eurocentric perspective of such conceptualizations, they nevertheless point to the unique nature of the formalized corridor because it crisscrossed the above mentioned zones of mobility control in an unprecedented way.

    Furthermore, the corridor through the Balkans can be conceived as a special type of transnational, internalized border. The internalized European borders manifest themselves to a great extent in a punctiform (see Rahola 2011: 96–97). They are not only activated in formal settings of border-crossings, police stations, or detention centers both at state borders and deep within state territories, but also in informal settings of hospitals, hostels, in the streets, or when someone’s legal status is taken as a basis for denying access to rights and services (i.e. to obtain medical aid, accommodation, ride) (Guild 2001; Stojić Mitrović/Meh 2015). With the Balkan corridor, this punctiform of movement control was, for a short period, fused into a linear one (Hameršak/Pleše 2018).

    The rules of the corridor and its pathways were established by formal and informal agreements between the police and other state authorities, and the corridor itself was facilitated by governmental, humanitarian, and other institutions and agencies. Cooperation between the countries along the route was fostered by representatives of EU institutions and EU member states. It would be too simple, though, to describe their involvement of the countries along the route as merely reactive, as an almost mechanical response to EU and broader global policies. Some countries, in particular Serbia, regarded the increasing numbers of migrants entering their territory during the year 2015 as a window of opportunity for showing their ›good face‹ to the European Union by adopting ›European values‹ and, by doing so, for enhancing their accession process to the European Union (Beznec/Speer/Stojić Mitrović 2016; Greenberg/Spasić 2017). As Tošić points out, »this image was very convenient for Serbian politicians in framing their country as ›truly European‹, since it was keeping its borders open unlike some EU states (such as Hungary)« (2017: 160). Other states along the corridor also played by their own rules from time to time: Croatia, for example, contrary to the Eurodac Regulation (Regulation EU No 603/2013), avoided sharing registration data on people in transit and, thus, hampered the Dublin system that is dependent on Eurodac registration. Irregular bureaucracies and nonrecording, as Katerina Rozakou (2017) calls such practices in her analysis of bordering practices in the Greek context, became a place of dispute, negotiations, and frustrations, but also a clear sign of the complex relationships and different responses to migration within the European Union migration management politics itself.

    Within EU-member states, however, the longer the corridor lasted, and the more people passed through it, the stronger the ›Hungarian position‹ became. Finally, Austria became the driving force behind a process of gradually closing the corridor, which began in November 2015 and was fully implemented in March 2016. In parallel, Angela Merkel and the European Commission preferred another strategy that cut access to the formalized corridor and that was achieved by adopting a treaty with Turkey known as the »EU-Turkey deal« signed on 18 March 2016 (see Speer 2017: 49–68; Weber 2017: 30–40).

    The humanitarian aspect for the people on the move who were supposed to reach a safe place through the corridor was the guiding principle of public discourses in most of the countries along the corridor. In Serbia, »Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić officially welcomed refugees, spoke of tolerance, and compared the experience of refugees fleeing war-torn countries to those of refugees during the wars of Yugoslav Succession« (Greenberg/Spasić 2017: 315). Similar narratives could also be observed in other countries along the corridor, at least for some period of time (see, for Slovenia, Sardelić 2017: 11; for Croatia, Jakešević 2017: 184; Bužinkić 2018: 153–154). Of course, critical readings could easily detect the discriminatory, dehumanizing, securitarizing, and criminalizing acts, practices, tropes, and aspects in many of these superficially caring narratives. The profiling or selection of people, ad hoc detentions, and militarization—which were integral parts of the corridor—were, at the time, only denounced by a few NGOs and independent activists. They were mostly ignored, or only temporarily acknowledged, by the media and, consequently, by the general public.

    Before May 2015, ›irregular‹ migration was not framed by a discourse of ›crisis‹ in the countries along the route, rather, the discourse was led by a focus on ›separate incidents‹ or ›situations‹. The discursive framing of ›crisis‹ and ›emergency‹, accompanied by reports of UN agencies about ›unprecedented refugee flows in history‹, has been globally adopted both by policy makers and the wider public. »In the wake of the Summer of Migration, all involved states along the Balkan route were quick to stage the events as an ›emergency‹ (Calhoun 2004) and, in best humanitarian fashion, as a major humanitarian ›crisis‹, thus legitimizing a ›politics of exception‹« (Hess/Kasparek 2017: 66). Following the logic that extraordinary situations call for, and justify, the use of extraordinary measures, the emergency framework, through the construction of existential threats, resulted, on the one hand, in a loosely controlled allocation of resources, and, on the other hand, in silencing many critical interpretations, thus allowing various ›risk management activities‹ to happen on the edge of the law (Campesi 2014). For the states along the route, the crisis label especially meant a rapid infusion of money and other resources for establishing infrastructures for the urgent reception of people on the move, mainly deriving from EU funds. Politically and practically, these humanitarian-control activities also fastened the operational inclusion of non-EU countries into the European border regime.

    As Sabine Hess and Bernd Kasparek have pointed out, the politics of proclaiming a ›crisis‹ is at the heart of re-stabilizing the European border regime, »making it possible to systematically undermine and lever the standards of international and European law without serious challenges to date« (Hess/Kasparek 2017: 66). The authors:

    »have observed carefully designed policy elements, which can be labelled as anti-litigation devices. The design of the Hungarian transit zones is a striking case in point. They are an elementary part of the border fence towards Serbia and allow for the fiction that the border has not been closed for those seeking international protection, but rather that their admission numbers are merely limited due to administrative reasons: each of the two transit zones allows for 14 asylum seekers to enter Hungary every day« (Hess/Kasparek 2017: 66; on the administrative rationale in Slovenia see e.g. Gombač 2016: 79–81).

    The establishment of transit zones was accompanied by a series of legislative tightenings, passed under a proclaimed ›crisis situation caused by mass immigration‹, which, from a legal point of view, lasts until today. Two aspects are worth mentioning in particular: First, the mandatory deportation of all unwanted migrants that were detected on Hungarian territory to the other side of the fence, without any possibility to claim for asylum or even to lodge any appeal against the return. Second, the automatic rejection of all asylum applications as inadmissible, even of those who managed to enter the transit zones, because Serbia had been declared a safe third country (Nagy/Pál 2018). This led to a completely securitized border regime in Hungary, which might become a ›role model‹, not only for the countries in the region but also for the European border regime as a whole (ECtHR – Ilias and Ahmed v. Hungary Application No. 47287/15).
    The Long Genealogy of the Balkan Route and its Governance

    The history of the Balkan region is a multiply layered history of transborder mobilities, migration, and flight reaching back as far as the times of the Habsburg and Ottoman empires connecting the region with the East and Western Europe in many ways. Central transportation and communication infrastructures partially also used by today’s migratory projects had already been established at the heydays of Western imperialism, as the Orient Express, the luxury train service connecting Paris with Istanbul (1883), or the Berlin-Baghdad railway (built between 1903 and 1940) indicate. During World War II, a different and reversed refugee route existed, which brought European refugees not just to Turkey but even further to refugee camps in Syria, Egypt, and Palestine and was operated by the Middle East Relief and Refugee Administration (MERRA).

    The Yugoslav highway, the Highway of Brotherhood and Unity (Autoput bratstva i jedinstva) often simply referred to as the ›autoput‹ and built in phases after the 1950s, came to stretch over more than 1,000 km from the Austrian to the Greek borders and was one of the central infrastructures enabling transnational mobilities, life projects, and exile. In the 1960s, direct trains departing from Istanbul and Athens carried thousands of prospective labor migrants to foreign places in Germany and Austria in the context of the fordist labor migration regime of the two countries. At the end of that decade, Germany signed a labor recruitment agreement with Yugoslavia, fostering and formalizing decades long labor migrations from Croatia, Serbia, and other countries to Germany (Gatrell 2019, see e.g. Lukić Krstanović 2019: 54–55).

    The wars in the 1990s that accompanied the dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and the consequent establishment of several new nation states, created the first large refugee movement after the Second World War within Europe and was followed by increasing numbers of people fleeing Albania after the fall of its self-isolationist regime and the (civil) wars in the Middle East, Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan since the mid-1990s. As the migratory route did not go north through the Balkan Peninsula, but mainly proceeded to Italy at the time, the label Balkan route was mostly used as a name for a drugs and arms smuggling route well known in the West. Although there was migration within and to Europe, the Balkan migratory route, with the exception of refugee movements from ex-Yugoslavia, was yet predominantly invisible to the broader European public.

    Sparse ethnographic insights from the beginning of the 2000s point this out. Academic papers on migrant crossings from Turkey to the island of Lesbos mention as follows: »When the transport service began in the late 1980s it was very small and personal; then, in the middle of the 1990s, the Kurds began to show up – and now people arrive from just about everywhere« (Tsianos/Hess/Karakayali 2009: 3; see Tsianos/Karakayali 2010: 379). A document of the Council of the European Union from 1997 formulates this as following:

    »This migration appears to be routed essentially either through Turkey, and hence through Greece and Italy, or via the ›Balkans route‹, with the final countries of destination being in particular Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Several suggestions were put forward for dealing with this worrying problem, including the strengthening of checks at external borders, the stepping up of the campaign against illegal immigration networks, and pre-frontier assistance and training assignments in airports and ports in certain transit third countries, in full cooperation with the authorities in those countries« (ibid. quoted in Hess/Kasparek 2020).

    During this time, the EU migration management policies defined two main objectives: to prevent similar arrivals in the future, and to initiate a system of control over migration movements toward the EU that would be established outside the territories of the EU member states. This would later be formalized, first in the 2002 EU Action Plan on Illegal Immigration (see Hayes/Vermeulen 2012: 13–14) and later re-confirmed in the Global Approach to Migration (2005) framework concerning the cooperation of the EU with third states (Hess/Kasparek 2020). In this process, the so-called migratory routes-approach and accompanying strategies of controlling, containing, and taming the movement »through epistemology of the route« (Hess/Kasparek 2020) became a main rationale of the European border control regime. Thus, one can resume that the route was not only produced by movements of people but also by the logic, legislation, investment etc. of EU migration governance. Consequently, the clandestine pathways across the Balkans to Central and Western Europe were frequently addressed by security bodies and services of the EU (see e.g. Frontex 2011; Frontex 2014), resulting in the conceptual and practical production of the Balkan as an external border zone of the EU.

    Parallel to the creation of ›Schengenland‹, the birth of the ›Area of Freedom, Security and Justice‹ inter alia as an inner-EU-free-mobility-zone and EU-based European border and migration regime in the late 1990s, the EU created the Western Balkans as an imaginary political entity, an object of its neighborhood and enlargement policy, which lies just outside the EU with a potential ›European future‹. For the purpose of the Stabilization and Association Process (SAP) initiated in 1999, the term Western Balkan was launched in the EU political context in order to include, at that moment, ›ex-Yugoslav states minus Slovenia plus Albania‹ and to presumably avoid potential politically sensitive notions. The Western Balkans as a concept represents a combination of a political compromise and colonial imagery (see Petrović 2012: 21–36). Its aim was to stabilize the region through a radical redefinition that would restrain from ethno-national toponyms and to establish a free-trade area and growing partnership with the EU. The SAP set out common political and economic goals for the Western Balkan as a region and conducted political and economic progress evaluations ›on a countries’ own merits‹. The Thessaloniki Summit in 2003 strengthened the main objectives of the SAP and formally took over elements of the accession process—institutional domains and regulations that were to be harmonized with those existing in the EU. Harmonization is a wide concept, and it basically means adopting institutional measures following specific demands of the EU. It is a highly hierarchized process in which states asked to ›harmonize‹ do not have a say in things but have to conform to the measures set forth by the EU. As such, the adoption of the EU migration and border regime became a central part of the ongoing EU-accession process that emerged as the main platform and governmental technology of the early externalization and integration of transit and source countries into the EU border regime. This was the context of early bilateral and multilateral cooperation on this topic (concerning involved states, see Lipovec Čebron 2003; Stojić Mitrović 2014; Župarić-Iljić 2013; Bojadžijev 2007).

    The decisive inclusion of the Western Balkan states in the EU design of border control happened at the Thessaloniki European Summit in 2003, where concrete provisions concerning border management, security, and combating illegal migration were set according to European standards. These provisions have not been directly displayed, but were concealed as part of the package of institutional transformations that respective states had to conduct. The states were promised to become members of the EU if the conditions were met. In order to fulfill this goal, prospective EU member states had to maintain good mutual relations, build statehoods based on ›the rule of law‹, and, after a positive evaluation by the EU, begin with the implementation of concrete legislative and institutional changes on their territories (Stojić Mitrović/Vilenica 2019). The control of unwanted movements toward the EU was a priority of the EU accession process of the Western Balkan states from the very beginning (Kacarska 2012). It started with controlling the movement of their own nationals (to allow the states to be removed from the so-called Black Schengen list) during the visa facilitation process. If they managed to control the movement of their own nationals, especially those who applied for asylum in the EU via biometric passports and readmission obligations (asylum seekers from these states comprise a large portion of asylum seekers in the EU even today), they were promised easier access to the EU as an economic area. Gradually, the focus of movement control shifted to third-country nationals. In effect, the Western Balkan states introduced migration-related legislative and institutional transformations corresponding to the ones already existing in the EU, yet persistent ›non-doing‹ (especially regarding enabling access to rights and services for migrants) remained a main practice of deterrence (Valenta/Zuparic-Iljic/Vidovic 2015; Stojić Mitrović 2019).

    From the very beginning, becoming an active part of the European border regime and implementing EU-centric migration policies, or, to put it simply, conducting control policies over the movements of people, has not been the goal of the states along the Balkan route per se but a means to obtain political and economic benefits from the EU. They are included into the EU border regime as operational partners without formal power to influence migration policies. These states do have a voice, though, not only by creating the image of being able to manage the ›European problem‹, and accordingly receive further access to EU funds, but also by influencing EU migration policy through disobedience and actively avoiding conformity to ›prescribed‹ measures. A striking example of creative state disobedience are the so-called 72-hour-papers, which are legal provisions set by the Serbian 2007 Law on Asylum, later also introduced as law in North Macedonia in June 2015: Their initial function was to give asylum seekers who declared their ›intention to seek asylum‹ to the police the possibility to legally proceed to one of the asylum reception centers located within Serbia, where, in a second step, their asylum requests were to be examined in line with the idea of implementing a functioning asylum system according to EU standards. However, in practice, these papers were used as short-term visas for transiting through North Macedonia and Serbia that were handed out to hundreds of thousands of migrants (Beznec/Speer/Stojić Mitrović 2016: 17–19, 36).

    Furthermore, the introduction of migration control practices is often a means for achieving other political and economic goals. In the accessing states, migration management is seen as services they provide for the EU. In addition, demands created by migration management goals open new possibilities for employment, which are essential to societies with high unemployment rates.

    Besides direct economic benefits, migration has been confirmed to be a politically potent instrument. States and their institutions were more firmly integrated into existing EU structures, especially those related to the prevention of unwanted migration, such as increased police cooperation and Frontex agreements. On a local level, political leaders have increasingly been using migration-related narratives in everyday political life in order to confront the state or other political competitors, often through the use of Ethno-nationalist and related discourses. In recent times, as citizens of the states along the Balkan route themselves migrate in search for jobs and less precarious lives, migration from third states has been discursively linked to the fear of foreigners permanently settling in places at the expense of natives.
    Contemporary Context

    According to a growing body of literature (e.g. Hess/Kasparek 2020; Lunaček Brumen/Meh 2016; Speer 2017), the Balkan route of the year 2015 and the first months of 2016 can be conceptualized in phases, beginning with a clandestine phase, evolving to an open route and formalized corridor and back to an invisible route again. It is necessary to point to the fact that these different phases were not merely the result of state or EU-led top-down approaches, but the consequence of a »dynamic process which resulted from the interplay of state practices, practices of mobility, activities of activists, volunteers, and NGOs, media coverage, etc. The same applies for its closure« (Beznec/Speer/Stojić Mitrović 2016: 6).

    The closure of the corridor and stricter border controls resulted in a large transformation of the Balkan route and mobility practices in the recent years, when push-backs from deep within the EU-territory to neighboring non-EU states, erratic movements across borders and territories of the (Western) Balkan states, or desperate journeys back to Greece and then back to the north became everyday realities. In the same period, the route proliferated into more branches, especially a new one via Bosnia and Herzegovina. This proliferation lead to a heightened circulation of practices, people, and knowledge along these paths: a mushrooming of so-called ›jungle camps‹ in Bosnia and Herzegovina, an escalation of border violence in Croatia, chain push-backs from Slovenia, significant EU financial investments into border control in Croatia and camp infrastructures in neighboring countries, the deployment of Frontex in Albania, etc. As the actual itineraries of people on the move multiplied, people started to reach previously indiscernible spots, resulting in blurring of the differences between entering and exiting borders. Circular transit with many loops, involving moving forward and backwards, became the dominant form of migration movements in the region. It transformed the Balkan route into a »Balkan Circuit« (Stojić Mitrović/Vilenica 2019: 540; see also Stojić Mitrović/Ahmetašević/Beznec/Kurnik 2020). The topography changed from a unidirectional line to a network of hubs, accommodation, and socializing spots. In this landscape, some movements still remain invisible—undetected by actors aiming to support, contain, and even prevent migration. »We have no information about persons who have money to pay for the whole package, transfer, accommodation, food, medical assistance when needed, we have no idea how many of them just went further«, a former MSF employee stressed, »we only see those who reach for aid, who are poor or injured and therefore cannot immediately continue their journey.« Some movements are intentionally invisibilized by support groups in order to avoid unwanted attention, and, consequently, repressive measures have also become a common development in border areas where people on the move are waiting for their chance to cross. However, it seems that circular transnational migration of human beings, resulting directly from the securitarian practices of the European border regime, have also become a usual form of mobility in the region.

    The Balkan route as a whole has been increasingly made invisible to spectators from the EU in the last years. There were no mass media coverage, except for reports on deplorable conditions in certain hubs, such as Belgrade barracks (Serbia), Vučjak camp (Bosnia and Herzegovina), or violent push-backs from Croatia that received global and EU-wide attention. However, this spectacularization was rarely directly attributed to the externalization of border control but rather more readily linked to an presumed inability of the Balkan states to manage migration, or to manage it without the blatant use of violence.

    As Marta Stojić Mitrović and Ana Vilenica (2019) point out, practices, discourses, knowledge, concepts, technologies, even particular narratives, organizations, and individual professionals are following the changed topography. This is evident both in the securitarian and in the humanitarian sector: Frontex is signing or initiating cooperation agreements with non-EU member Balkan states, border guards learn from each other how to prevent movements or how to use new equipment, obscure Orbanist legislative changes and institutionalized practices are becoming mainstream, regional coordinators of humanitarian organizations transplant the same ›best practices‹ how to work with migrants, how to organize their accommodation, what aid to bring and when, and how to ›deal‹ with the local communities in different nation-states, while the emergency framework travels from one space to another. Solidarity groups are networking, exchanging knowledge and practices but simultaneously face an increased criminalization of their activities. The public opinion in different nation states is shaped by the same dominant discourses on migration, far-right groups are building international cooperations and exploit the same narratives that frame migrants and migration as dangerous.
    About the Issue

    This issue of movements highlights the current situation of migration struggles along this fragmented, circular, and precarious route and examines the diverse attempts by the EU, transnational institutions, countries in the region, local and interregional structures, and multiple humanitarian actors to regain control over the movements of migration after the official closure of the humanitarian-securitarian corridor in 2016. It reflects on the highly dynamic and conflicting developments since 2015 and their historical entanglements, the ambiguities of humanitarian interventions and strategies of containment, migratory tactics of survival, local struggles, artistic interventions, regional and transnational activism, and recent initiatives to curb the extensive practices of border violence and push-backs. In doing so, the issue brings back the region on the European agenda and sheds light on the multiple historical disruptions, bordering practices, and connectivities that have been forming its presence.

    EU migration policy is reaffirming old and producing new material borders: from border fences to document checks—conducted both by state authorities and increasingly the general population, like taxi drivers or hostel owners—free movement is put in question for all, and unwanted movements of migrants are openly violently prevented. Violence and repression toward migrants are not only normalized but also further legalized through transformations of national legislation, while migrant solidarity initiatives and even unintentional facilitations of movement or stay (performed by carriers, accommodation providers, and ordinary citizens) are increasingly at risk of being criminalized.

    In line with this present state, only briefly tackled here, a number of contributions gathered in this issue challenge normative perceptions of the restrictive European border regime and engage in the critical analysis of its key mechanisms, symbolic pillars, and infrastructures by framing them as complex and depending on context. Furthermore, some of them strive to find creative ways to circumvent the dominance of linear or even verbal explication and indulge in narrative fragments, interviews, maps, and graphs. All contributions are focused and space- or even person-specific. They are based on extensive research, activist, volunteer or other involvement, and they are reflexive and critical towards predominant perspectives and views.

    Artist and activist Selma Banich, in her contribution entitled »Shining«, named after one of her artistic intervention performed in a Zagreb neighborhood, assembles notes and reflections on her ongoing series of site-specific interventions in Zagreb made of heat sheet (hallmarks of migrants’ rescue boats and the shores of Europe) and her personal notes in which she engages with her encounters with three persons on the move or, rather, on the run from the European border control regime. Her contribution, formulated as a series of fragments of two parallel lines, which on the surface seem loosely, but in fact deeply, connected, speaks of the power of ambivalence and of the complexities of struggles that take place everyday on the fringes of the EU. Andrea Contenta visualizes and analyzes camps that have been mushrooming in Serbia in the recent years with a series of maps and graphs. The author’s detailed analysis—based on a critical use of available, often conflicting, data—shows how Serbia has kept thousands of people outside of the western EU territory following a European strategy of containment. Contenta concludes his contribution with a clear call, stating: »It is not only a theoretical issue anymore; containment camps are all around us, and we cannot just continue to write about it.« Serbia, and Belgrade in particular, is of central importance for transmigration through the Balkans. On a micro-level, the maps of Paul Knopf, Miriam Neßler and Cosima Zita Seichter visualize the so-called Refugee District in Belgrade and shed light on the transformation of urban space by transit migration. On a macro-level, their contribution illustrates the importance of Serbia as a central hub for migrant mobility in the Balkans as well as for the externalization of the European border regime in the region. The collective efforts to support the struggle of the people on the move—by witnessing, documenting, and denouncing push-backs—are presented by the Push-Back Map Collective’s self-reflection. In their contribution to this issue, the Push-Back Map Collective ask themselves questions or start a dialogue among themselves in order to reflect and evaluate the Push-Back map (www.pushbackmap.org) they launched and maintain. They also investigate the potentials of political organizing that is based on making an invisible structure visible. The activist collective Info Kolpa from Ljubljana gives an account of push-backs conducted by the Slovenian police and describes initiatives to oppose what they deem as systemic violence of police against people on the move and violent attempts to close the borders. The text contributes to understanding the role of extralegal police practices in restoring the European border regime and highlights the ingenuity of collectives that oppose it. Patricia Artimova’s contribution entitled »A Volunteer’s Diary« could be described as a collage of diverse personal notes of the author and others in order to present the complexity of the Serbian and Bosnian context. The genre of diary notes allows the author to demonstrate the diachronic line presented in the volunteers’ personal engagements and in the gradual developments occurring in different sites and states along the route within a four-year period. She also traces the effects of her support for people on the move on her social relations at home. Emina Bužinkić focuses on the arrest, detention, and deportation of a non-EU national done by Croatia to show the implications of current securitization practices on the everyday lives and life projects of migrants and refugees. Based on different sources (oral histories, official documentation, personal history, etc.), her intervention calls for direct political action and affirms a new genre one could provisionally call ›a biography of a deportation‹. In her »Notes from the Field« Azra Hromadžić focuses on multiple encounters between the locals of Bihać, a city located in the northwestern corner of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and people on the move who stop there while trying to cross into Croatia and the EU. Some of the sections and vignettes of her field notes are written as entries describing a particular day, while others are more anthropological and analytical reflections. Her focus lies on the local people’s perspectives, the dynamics of their daily encounters with migrants and alleged contradictions, philigram distinctions, as well as experiences of refugeeness that create unique relationships between people and histories in Bihać. Karolína Augustová and Jack Sapoch, activists of the grassroots organization No Name Kitchen and members of the Border Violence Monitoring Network, offer a systematized account of violence towards people on the move with their research report. The condensed analysis of violent practices, places, victims, and perpetrators of the increasingly securitized EU border apparatus is based on interviews conducted with people on the move in border areas with Croatia, Šid (Serbia) and Velika Kladuša (BiH). They identify a whole range of violence that people on the move are facing, which often remains ignored or underestimated, and thus condoned, in local national settings as well as on the EU and global level. They conclude that border violence against people on the move cannot be interpreted as mere aggression emanating from individuals or groups of the police but is embedded in the states’ structures.

    We also gathered scientific papers discussing and analyzing different aspects of the corridor and the years thereafter. In their article, Andrej Kurnik and Barbara Beznec focus on assemblages of mobility, which are composed of practices of migrants and local agencies that strive to escape what the authors call ›the sovereign imperative‹. In their analysis of different events and practices since 2015, they demonstrate how migratory movements reveal the hidden subalternized local forms of escape and invigorate the dormant critique of coloniality in the geopolitical locations along the Balkan route. In their concluding remarks, the authors ask to confront the decades-long investments into repressive and exclusionary EU migration policies and point to the political potential of migration as an agent of decolonization. The authors stress that post-Yugoslav European borderland that has been a laboratory of Europeanization for the last thirty years, a site of a ›civilizing‹ mission that systematically diminishes forms of being in common based on diversity and alterity is placed under scrutiny again. Romana Pozniak explores the ethnography of aid work, giving special attention to dynamics between emotional and rational dimensions. Based primarily on interviews conducted with humanitarians employed during the mass refugee transit through the Balkan corridor, she analyzes, historizes, and contextualizes their experiences in terms of affective labor. The author defines affective labor as efforts invested in reflecting on morally, emotionally, and mentally unsettling affects. She deals with local employment measures and how they had an impact on employed workers. Pozniak discusses the figure of the compassionate aid professional by it in a specific historical context of the Balkan corridor and by including personal narrations about it. The article of Robert Rydzewski focuses on the situation in Serbia after the final closure of the formalized corridor in March 2016. Rydzewski argues that extensive and multidirectional migrant movements on the doorstep of the EU are an expression of hope to bring a ›stuckedness‹ to an end. In his analysis, he juxtaposes the representations of migrant movements as linear with migrant narratives and their persistent unilinear movement despite militarized external European Union borders, push-backs, and violence of border guards. Rydzewsky approaches the structural and institutional imposition of waiting with the following questions: What does interstate movement mean for migrants? Why do migrants reject state protection offered by government facilities in favor of traveling around the country? In her article, Céline Cantat focuses on the Serbian capital Belgrade and how ›solidarities in transit‹ or the heterogeneous community of actors supporting people on the move emerged and dissolved in the country in 2015/2016. She analyzes the gradual marginalization of migrant presence and migration solidarity in Belgrade as an outcome of imposing of an institutionalized, official, camp-based, and heavily regulated refugee aid field. This field regulates the access not only to camps per se, but also to fundings for activities by independent groups or civil sector organizations. Teodora Jovanović, by using something she calls ›autoethnography of participation‹, offers a meticulous case study of Miksalište, a distribution hub in Belgrade established in 2015, which she joined as a volunteer in 2016. The transformation of this single institution is examined by elaborating on the transformation within the political and social contexts in Serbia and its capital, Belgrade, regarding migration policies and humanitarian assistance. She identifies three, at times intertwined, modes of response to migration that have shaped the development of the Miksalište center in corresponding stages: voluntarism, professionalization, and re-statization. She connects the beginning and end of each stage of organizing work in Miksalište by investigating the actors, roles, activities, and manners in which these activities are conducted in relation to broader changes within migration management and funding.

    Finishing this editorial in the aftermath of brutal clashes at the borders of Turkey and Greece and in the wake of the global pandemic of COVID-19—isolated in our homes, some of us even under curfew—we experience an escalation and normalization of restrictions, not only of movement but also of almost every aspect of social and political life. We perceive a militarization, which pervades public spaces and discourses, the introduction of new and the reinforcement of old borders, in particular along the line of EU external borders, a heightened immobilization of people on the move, their intentional neglect in squats and ›jungles‹ or their forceful encampment in deplorable, often unsanitary, conditions, where they are faced with food reductions, violence of every kind, and harrowing isolation. At the same time, we witness an increase of anti-migrant narratives not only spreading across obscure social networks but also among high ranked officials. Nonetheless, we get glimpses of resistance and struggles happening every day inside and outside the camps. Videos of protests and photos of violence that manage to reach us from the strictly closed camps, together with testimonies and outcries, are fragments of migrant agency that exist despite overwhelming repression.

    https://movements-journal.org/issues/08.balkanroute
    #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #revue #humanitarisme #espoir #attente #mobilité #Belgrade #Serbie #solidarité #Miksaliste #Bihac #Bosnie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #encampement #corridor #cartographie #visualisation

  • L’une des plus grandes décharges d’Europe attise les convoitises de Suez aux dépens de l’efficacité écologique
    https://www.bastamag.net/Decharge-montagne-de-dechets-incinerateur-Suez-tri-selectif-Serbie-polluti

    Une des plus grandes décharges à ciel ouvert d’Europe empoisonne les sols et l’air de la banlieue de Belgrade. Suez, géant français de la gestion des déchets et de l’eau, a conclu un très gros contrat avec la mairie de la capitale serbe pour bâtir un incinérateur. La montagne d’ordures va-t-elle disparaître et le recyclage se développer ? Pas si sûr. On a beau être à plus de 700 kilomètres de la côte la plus proche, une armée de mouettes obscurcit le ciel. Au milieu de coteaux agricoles, à quelques (...) #Décrypter

    / #Europe, Pollutions , #Toxiques, #Multinationales, #Reportages, A la une

    #Pollutions_

  • INFO PARK 17 – 23 June 2020

    Serbia
    ➢ Anti-migrant rhetoric reached its peak on 20 June, World Refugee Day, when an antimigrant protest was organized in Belgrade downtown, as well as in Banja Koviljaca,in western Serbia. Despite repeated calls for action on social media in the days before the event, only around one hundred people gathered in Belgrade and 400 in Banja
    Koviljaca, where an asylum center is located. They shouted anti-migrant and far right paroles and called for closure of refugee camps in Serbia, but no incidents were reported. Despite clear need for restriction of hate speech and drawing a clear line between hate speech and freedom of expression, which is the role of the state, such
    rhetoric is allowed and unpunished, as is proven with this protest.

    #covid-19 #migration #migrant #serbie #manifestation #xenophobie #belgrade #banjakoviljaca

  • Info Park Weekly 8– 14 April 2020

    Flashback

    Serbia
    ➢ In the reporting period, Info Park identified 109 new arrivals to Belgrade - mostly from Afghanistan, followed by Pakistan and Syria. The number shows that COVID- 19 pandemic and the imposed state of emergency did not prevent migrants from coming to Serbia. Given no local or national public transport, the new arrivals completely depend on smugglers’ networks. This was proven by the arrest in Vranje of a local with 9 migrants he transported. In the reporting period, 90 of the newly arrived benefited from Info Park services and a provision of a warm meal during waiting time for transportation to camps. All of them were temporarily accommodated overnight in OSP Miksalište, expecting adequate referral, mainly to a new makeshift camp in Miratovac for 28 days long quarantine, or to a newly open tent camp in the village of Morović (Vojvodina, near the border with Croatia) originally planned to quarantine the locals, with dubious hygienic standards. Given that the overcrowding remained the main issue with nearly 9,000 residents in the camps originally built for 6,000, it was not surprising that Miratovac RC got filled up with 280 migrants in mere 24 hours upon opening.
    ➢ Serbia registers a constant rise of confirmed COVID-19 cases (tested: 20,958; confirmed cases: 4,054; deaths: 85) making refugees and all other migrants even more concerned about their safety. Dr. Predrag Kon, lead Serbian epidemiologist, said that Roma and migrant population are at higher risk from COVID-19 since they are accommodated in collective centers often lacking adequate conditions for successful prevention. So far, there are no infected among these communities. However, it is encouraging that medical workers continued testing migrants, treating them as equal as Serbian nationals.
    ➢ Situation in some of the Serbia’s biggest reception and asylum centers did not get any calmer in the past week. On contrary, a further rise of tensions has continued in Krnjača AC, peaking with a riot police intervention on Saturday 12 April which was carried out with an aim to detain the perpetrators of Monday 7 incident we already reported in Weekly 012. Unfortunately, as reported by various witnesses, the police used excessive force including tear gas in an inappropriate manner so unnecessary stress was put on vulnerable population, including children. Two buses of “troublemakers” were sent to newly open camp Morović. It seems that a relation of trust between beneficiaries and authorities is currently on an extremely low level; most of the refugees and migrants in Krnjača AC complain that MoI special units sadly continued intimidating beneficiaries with loud night visits of riot police or helicopters flying low above the camp.
    ➢ After a long break, the first serious pushback from Serbia was reported on the border with North Macedonia. A group of migrants from Tutin AC (from Algeria, Morocco and Iran) was told by the camp authorities they will be transported to Preševo RC, south of Serbia; instead they were pushed 350km away to a North Macedonia territory near Lojane village. This was a regular practice before 2018, especially with mischiefs from Preševo camp. Lojane village is a long-term smuggling hub and organize crime stronghold.
    Hungary
    ➢ A number of intercepted attempts to cross the Serbo-Hungarian border remained
    low, with 48 attempts for 7 days, ranging between 1 and 11 per day.
    Info Park
    ➢ Info Park remained its daily presence in Belgrade Savamala area and continued the outreach operations in Pirot and Bujanovac camps with 4 information sharing workshops last week. We are happy to report a reasonably peaceful atmosphere in these camps where almost none of the gaps and issues typical for big camps are noticeable thanks to significant efforts of the SCRM staff and proactive approach of the clients.
    Last week, Info Park organized the 7th coordination meeting online, with the participation of representatives from Atina, Praxis, CYI and CRPC. The main topics included current state of emergency and Covid-19 crisis response. None of them have plans of coming back to the field work in the coming weeks, at least not before May.
    Greece
    ➢ The emergency suspension of asylum applications between 1 and 31 March has ended and got replaced by general suspension of activities of the Greek Asylum Service until at the end of April. Meanwhile, Malakasa camp, north of Athens has been quarantined due to a confirmed corona virus case. This is the second Greek camp which had to be closed over the pandemic.
    Europe
    ➢ Nine European member states (Germany, France, Portugal, Finland, Lithuania, Croatia, Ireland, Belgium and Bulgaria) pledged in early 2020 to accept a total of 1,600 unaccompanied children to be relocated from camps on the Greek islands. Germany is the first to fulfil the promise. According to DW, German officials have expressed regret over the lackluster response from other eight EU states on resettling unaccompanied boys and girls. Two non-EU countries, Switzerland and Serbia, also pledged to do the same, but with no follow up so far. Serbian authorities agreed to relocate 100 unaccompanied children from Greece.

    Info Park Weekly 08-14 April 2020 5

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Serbie #RépubliquedeMacédoine #Refoulement #Frontières #Camps #Transfert ##Belgrade #Miksaliste #Morovic #Croatie
    #Miratovac #Presevo #Krnjaca #Encampement #Tutin #Lojane #Pirot #Bujanovac #Malakasa #Suspensionasile #Allemagne, #France, #Portugal, #Finlande,#Lituanie, #Croatie #Irlande, #Belgique and #Bulgarie #Révolte

  • Movement Ban Worsens Migrants’ Plight in #Serbia, #Bosnia-and-Herzegovina

    https://balkaninsight.com/2020/04/09/movement-ban-worsens-migrants-plight-in-serbia-bosnia

    Ivana Jeremic, Milica Stojanovic and Anja VladisavljevicBelgrade, Zagreb BIRN April 9, 202013:08

    The complete ban of moving in and out of #camps imposed in the current pandemic has left those locked inside them feeling more isolated, frustrated and information-starved than ever.
    Local and international #organisations that assist migrants and refugees are no longer able to enter reception centres in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina due to the complete ban on movement in and out of the camps related to the #COVID-19 pandemic.

    Besides leaving the people in the camps in a state of forced #isolation and inactivity, these organisations warn that it is also leading to a lack of information and support which, combined with the ban on movement, could lead to incidents.

    Serbia imposed a state of quarantine on all its reception centres on March 17. Since then, people have not been allowed out of the centres unless it is to seek medical care, or with special permission. The ban works both ways, so no staff from rights organization can enter the facilities either.

    It has left the migrants and asylum-seekers inside without support, help or information, the director of the #Belgrade -based NGO Asylum Protection Center, Rados Djurovic, said.

    “Since the crisis began, for almost a month, access has been denied to anyone providing psychological, legal or other assistance, so they have no activities and are locked in the camps,” Djurovic told BIRN.

    Instead, the camp inmates “receive information through social networks and by phone contact with some of us”, he added.

    Media reports say at least two violent incidents have occurred in the last few days among migrants and asylum-seekers in centres in Serbia, one in #Krnjaca and the other in #Obrenovac, both in the wider area of Belgrade. Reports said #police and the #armée had to intervene to calm things down.

    “The problem here is that these people have been quarantined (#quarantaine) for 24 hours a day for almost a month now,” Djurovic told BIRN. “These people are completely shut inside in all the centres … and they have needs that can hardly be met in this way, so it causes a lot of fear and … affects their psycho-physical condition,” he added.

    The number of people affected by the quarantine measures in camps in Serbia is not small. On April 4, Serbia’s Commissariat for Refugees and Migrants said the camps in Serbia hosted a total of 8,703 persons.

    Djurovic said the measures imposed or recommended for Serbian citizens, especially when it comes to social distancing, were clearly not being applied to migrants and asylum-seekers cooped up in close proximity to one another in camps.

    “This is a group that is completely sidelined. Measures are being implemented for them that at first glance are the opposite of what our citizens are told, like [the need for] social distancing,” he said.

    “Everyone is put in one basket here, they are secured under arms and do not get enough information or enough protection,” Djurovic told BIRN.

    A video that BIRN has seen, sent by a person located in a centre in the town of Obrenovac, shows a lot of people waiting in a close line for food and then having their dinner in a crowded area. There is no social distancing.

    Bosnia’s crowded camps have only got worse:

    In neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, the movement of migrants and refugees is also restricted as a result of the pandemic, creating additional problems in already overcrowded reception centres.

    Bosnia’s #Una-SanaCanton, in the west of the country, near the border with EU-member Croatia, has been hardest hit by the migrant crisis, owing to the number of people piling up there, hoping to cross over into the EU.

    On March 16, the Crisis Staff of the canton’s Health, Labour and Social Policy ministry ordered “a complete restriction on the movement of migrants outside the temporary centres”, which are estimated to hold about 2,000 persons.

    “It is forbidden to transport migrants by any means of transport – train, bus, van, taxi, etc – to the Una-Sana Canton, or use transportation in the Una-Sana Canton. In addition … the entry of migrants on foot into the Una-Sana Canton is prohibited,” the authorities said.

    IPSIA, an Italian NGO that has been working in Bosnia since 1997 and is helping migrants and refugees in the northwestern town of #Bihac, said it feared migrants camping in squats and improvised camps could end up living in even more dangerous conditions.

    “The police in any case cannot monitor whether the migrants are respecting these measures because of the large number of people [staying] outside the camps,” IPSIA told BIRN.

    “In general, the situation in the Bihac camps is not bad, even if it is somehow boring and sad, since many organizations cannot work inside them, as group activities and workshops can no longer be done,” it said.

    “Many NGOs in the camps have had to suspend their activities in the field, but are still working at a distance –for example [by providing], legal or psychological support,” it added.

    The #SarajevoCanton, which includes the Bosnian capital and various nearby towns and villages, has also imposed restrictions on the movement of migrants and ordered them into temporary reception centres.

    On April 8, the #Sarajevo Cantonal police told the media that they were actively working to remove migrants from the streets to reduce the risk of the coronavirus spreading.

    The canton’s Interior Ministry said the police would “carry out direct external security and checking of migrant centres in the Sarajevo Canton” and would “continue the activity of relocating migrants who may be found outside the reception centres”.

    Can’t go out to buy food or tobacco:

    The International Organization for Migration, #IOM, which manages temporary reception centres for migrants and refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina, told BIRN it had so far found no cases of the coronavirus among the roughly 6,500 migrants held in them.

    But IPSIA said that situation was “frustrating” for migrants and refugees due to restrictions on the “basic right of freedom of movement, even if at this moment nobody has so much freedom because of COVID-19”, because they “can’t go to buy the food they like or recharge phone credits or buy cigarettes”.

    It said that the IOM had come up with a temporary solution for some camps in the area, such as #Miral, #Sedra and #Bira, however. Here, private companies (#compagniesprivées) are now bringing in food in vans and selling it to people for regular prices.

    With the cooperation of the IOM, IPSIA volunteers are helping migrants and refugees in the Borici camp, located on the outskirts of Bihac, by buying supplies for them from the local supermarket.

    The restrictions on the movement of migrants have also had one another side-effect. Few migrants in Bosnia can now run the gauntlet of trying to cross the nearby border into #Croatia – a process known locally among migrants and refugees as “The Game”.

  • #Fearless_Cities’ Movements Plot Common Path in Serbia

    ‘Municipalist’ movements from all over Europe met in the Serbian capital last weekend to exchange ideas and plan a common strategy against deeply entrenched political structures in their home countries.

    Municipalist activists from all over Europe descended on Belgrade in Serbia at the weekend for the fifth Fearless Cities conference, an event that seeks to elevate the discussion about the role that grassroots city-based groups can play in countering entrenched political structures and the rise of the far right.

    The conference last weekend was hosted by activists from Serbia’s Let’s Not Drown Belgrade [#Ne_davimo_Beograd], which was formed in 2014 to oppose a massive development project on the riverbank of the Serbian capital.

    The global municipalist movement met for the first time at the Fearless Cities Summit in Barcelona, Spain, in June 2017, at the invitation of Barcelona En Comú, with the stated goal of “radicalizing democracy, feminizing politics and standing up to the far right”.

    In a world in which it says “fear and inequalities are being twisted into hate, the movement says it is “standing up to defend human rights, democracy and the common good”.

    “It is a good opportunity to see how both smaller and bigger European cities are doing, and how we are actually on the same page for how we want to introduce citizens to decision-making,” Radomir Lazovic, one of the founders of Ne Davimo Beograd, said.

    “We are against the privatization and commercialisation of public assets, and we want to develop cities that belong to us, as citizens,” he told BIRN.

    Besides opposing the Belgrade Waterfront, Ne Davimo Beograd has supported months of protests in the Serbian capital against the government of President Aleksandar Vucic.

    The “1of 5 million” movement launched a series of protests on December 8 last year, demanding that Vucic and his governing Serbian Progressive Party resign, as well as more media freedom and fair elections.

    At the event in Belgrade, one of the panels gathered individuals from all over the Balkans, including North Macedonia, Albania and Croatia, to discuss the rise of local movements in their respective countries, and whether these movements actually have the potential to affect real change.

    Many panelists emphasized that in their home cities, members of the public often didn’t even know that they had neighbourhood councils and could have a real say in matters affecting their cities and towns.

    “Connecting and expanding our knowledge on the practices we are interested in is important, especially at a time when we see that right-wing formations and political parties are much better organized, much better mobilized and much more present in the general media with a higher impact on the general public,” said Ivana Dragsic, from the Skopje-based organization, #Freedom_Square.

    How municipalist movements can help shape the future of European politics was the main topic of discussion in #Belgrade.

    “Municipalism” emphasises the importance of allowing cities and towns to make their own decisions on issues like affordable housing, sustainable environmental policies and transparency.

    “Political parties have a problem because they … don’t follow the real process of societies,” said Ana Méndez de Andés, a member of the organization Ahora Madrid.

    “Municipalism looks at other ways of organizing. It’s about understanding that there is a need to change institutions and open up radical democratic processes starting from a scale that is closer to the citizens,” she told BIRN.

    Speakers from groups such as OccupyGaguta in Moldova, The City is For All in Hungary and Organized Society S.O.S. in Romania also presented their views at the conference, highlighting issues like participatory democracy, evictions, and environmental campaigns.

    “I am here in the Balkans because, as a Romanian, I can learn more about the experience in Southeastern Europe than I can from Western countries,” said Adrian Dohotaru, an MP in Romania and a member of Organized Society S.O.S.

    “We have a similar experience of commodification and privatization of public goods, a neoliberal system and in order to reverse this, we need to provide better policies against corruption.”

    Environmental justice was addressed by several speakers, including members of Keep Upright, KOD, from Montenegro, and Zagreb je NAS! [Zagreb is us], from Croatia.

    Other organizations like Spasi Sofia [Save Sofia] focus on promoting good quality public transport and green public spaces in the Bulgarian capital.

    “When the local government in Sofia canceled a big tramway project for the city we said: ‘This is enough. We have to really vote for ourselves because we love the city and we have to do something about it,’” said Andrej Zografski, from Spasi Sofia.

    “We have to learn from each other because we don’t have any other allies than ourselves,” he added.

    Opportunities to learn about issues specific to Belgrade were also offered at the conference, including tours of the Belgrade Waterfront and of the Kaludjerica settlment, which is often referred to as an illegal settlement due to the number of buildings built there without permits.

    Workshops to learn about different issues facing people in Serbia, like LGBT rights and the construction of hydro-power plants against public will, were offered as well.

    One of the discussions at the Belgrade event addressed the feminization of politics within a global context.

    Speakers from Colombia, Spain, Serbia and Croatia discussed the challenges of women trying to navigate and change patriarchal political systems.

    “If we don’t have a feminization of politics, we’ll lose many voices that are important in politics and, unless we change this, it’ll be difficult for these people to participate on equal terms with others,” said Laura Roth, a member of Barcelona en Comú.

    “This means distributing responsibilities in different ways and trying to break traditional gender.

    https://balkaninsight.com/2019/06/14/fearless-cities-movements-plot-common-path-in-serbia
    #villes-refuge #Serbie #asile #migrations #réfugiés #solidarité #hospitalité #municipalisme

    Ajouté à la métaliste sur les villes-refuge :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/759145

  • Sortie du nouveau numéro de la revue Carnets de géographes

    Jean-Baptiste Bing
    Géographicité de la #verticalité. [Texte intégral]

    Julien Gingembre
    Le #Sillon_Lorrain : quelle recomposition territoriale dans un espace multipolaire ? [Texte intégral]

    Anthony Goreau-Ponceaud
    #Hindouisme et pratiques spatiales des #Tamouls en Île-de-France [Texte intégral]
    Hinduism and spatial practices of Tamils ​​in Île-de-France

    #France #diaspora

    Stéphanie Lotz-Coll
    La #friche_militaire urbaine, un nouvel espace convoité ? [Texte intégral]

    Chiara Kirschner
    La gestion de l’#incertitude dans l’#itinérance_récréative : le #corps créatif à l’œuvre [Texte intégral]

    Laura Péaud
    Faire discipline : la géographie à la #Société_de_Géographie_de_Paris entre 1800 et 1850 [Texte intégral]

    Florence Orillard, Mathilde Gralepois et Laura Verdelli
    La prévention des #inondations dans les opérations d’aménagement des interfaces ville-port, un levier de #gentrification indirecte ? Le cas du Havre (France) [Texte intégral]
    #risques #Le_Havre #villes_portuaires #ports

    Adrian Foucher
    Du mobile à l’immobile [Texte intégral]
    Récit d’expérience migratoire dans les « #barracks » de #Belgrade
    #migrations #Serbie

    Basile Michel
    Construction de #cartes_mentales synthétiques : mise en avant des #représentations_spatiales collectivement partagées [Texte intégral]
    Le cas des travailleurs créatifs de quartiers urbains centraux de #Nantes et #Marseille

    Chloé Nicolas-Artero
    Une géographe engagée face aux rapports de pouvoir autour de l’#eau : retour réflexif sur les situations d’enquête au #Chili [Texte intégral]

    Camille Rouchi
    Une thèse CIFRE en collectivité territoriale : concilier la recherche et l’action ? [Texte intégral]

    Camille Robert-Boeuf
    Analyser le jardin collectif urbain en géographie : une lecture du #jardinage par les #émotions [Texte intégral]
    #jardins_urbains #jardinage_urbain #agriculture_urbaine

    David Villeneuve
    Enquêter auprès des chrétiens d’#Irak : considérations méthodologiques sur un terrain en « milieu difficile » [Texte intégral]

    https://journals.openedition.org/cdg/1248
    #géographie

  • #métaliste sur le #mobilier_urbain #anti-sdf / #anti-réfugiés.
    En commentaire, les différents mobiliers urbains #anti-sdf regroupés par pays.

    Sur le #design_défensif , des articles sur le fond :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/666521
    https://seenthis.net/messages/445966
    –-> Avec exemple #Londres, #UK #Angleterre

    « L’ architecture du mépris a des effets sur nous tous »
    https://seenthis.net/messages/814817

    #Livre : Reprendre place. Contre l’#architecture_du_mépris
    https://seenthis.net/messages/826234

    Et ici des initiatives de #résistance/#dénonciation :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/732278#message769645

    #urban_matter #villes #architecture_défensive #SDF #sans-abri #anti-SDF #architecture_du_mépris #architecture_hostile

    J’ai peut-être oublié des liens, mais ça fait déjà une longue liste de #cruauté_humaine...

    #urbanisme_défensif

  • Sulle rotte dei migranti, qui Belgrado: «Una popolazione accogliente perché ancora ferita dalle guerre jugoslave»

    I ragazzi a contatto con alcune Ong in Serbia. Un episodio di inclusione ben riuscita è quella della piccola cittadina di #Bosilegrad, un pacifico senso di comunità: cittadinanza e migranti festeggiano la Pasqua insieme


    http://www.ildolomiti.it/societa/2018/sulle-rotte-dei-migranti-qui-belgrado-una-popolazione-accogliente-perche-
    #Belgrade #Serbie #histoire #mémoire #accueil #réfugiés #solidarité #asile #migrations #intégration #inclusion

  • Memoria serba, la battaglia dei monumenti tra #Djindjic e #Milosevic

    Una scultura dedicata al leader democratico ucciso nel 2003 sorgerà nel centro di Belgrado. Accanto potrebbe trovare posto una statua di Slobodan Milosevic. Una coesistenza improbabile, che riassume lo stato della memoria collettiva. E l’idea della Serbia cara al nuovo vozhd Vucic

    https://eastwest.eu/it/opinioni/european-crossroads/serbia-monumenti-memoria-milosevic-djindjic
    #monuments #mémoire #Serbie #Belgrade

    cc @albertocampiphoto

  • #Hotel_Jugoslavija

    La Yougoslavie n’existe plus, mais l’Hôtel Jugoslavija hante encore le paysage belgradois tel un miroir tendu à une #Serbie en quête de nouveaux repères. En explorant le bâtiment à différentes époques, en sondant la #mémoire de ceux qui l’ont habité, le réalisateur, d’origine yougoslave mais né et ayant toujours vécu en Suisse, crée un espace-temps singulier d’où émergent un forme d’inconscient collectif et une part de sa propre identité.


    http://www.swissfilms.ch/fr/film_search/filmdetails/-/id_film/2147112216

    #film #Belgrade #documentaire #Nicolas_Wagnières
    cc @albertocampiphoto @reka

  • Belgrade’s Young Refugees Once Hidden in Plain Sight, Now Disappear

    More than 1,000 men and boys were living around Belgrade’s train station until their eviction in May. Now many of them, including hundreds of children traveling alone, are missing or vulnerable to trafficking in their desperation to reach northern Europe.

    https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/articles/2017/06/26/belgrades-young-refugees-once-hidden-in-plain-sight-now-disappear

    #disparitions #enfants #enfance #mineurs #MNA #mineurs_non_accompagnés #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Balkans #route_des_balkans #Serbie #Belgrade #visibilité #in/visibilité

  • #Serbie : un mouvement inédit de protestation menace l’« autocrate » Vučić
    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/100417/serbie-un-mouvement-inedit-de-protestation-menace-l-autocrate-vucic

    Manifestation à #Belgrade © Marija Jankovic Depuis une semaine, le mouvement de protestation ne cesse de s’étendre, prenant une ampleur jamais vue depuis la chute de Milosevic en 2000. Chaque soir, des dizaines de milliers de Serbes manifestent dans toutes les villes du pays contre la « dictature » d’Aleksandar Vučić, le premier ministre élu président de la République dimanche 2 avril.

    #International #Aleksandar_Vucic

  • "We need doctors". Ma a Belgrado prestare soccorso ai migranti è illegale

    Il 24 febbraio un gruppo di 7 volontari appartenenti a “Spazio Salute Popolare”, scuola di italiano “Liberalaparola” e collettivo universitario “SPAM” di Padova, insieme ad un videomaker del Laboratorio LUME di Milano, sono partiti alla volta della Serbia per portare supporto ai migranti accampati all’interno dell’ex deposito della stazione centrale di Belgrado. Questa iniziativa è stata intrapresa all’interno della campagna #OverTheFortress promossa dal progetto Melting Pot, che ha visto nell’ultimo anno un susseguirsi di “staffette” provenienti da diverse città d’Italia con destinazione i Balcani - una delle principali rotte migratorie che ci sono state in tempi recenti dal Medio Oriente con direzione Europa.


    http://www.meltingpot.org/We-need-doctors-Ma-a-Belgrado-prestare-soccorso-ai-migranti.html
    #délit_de_solidarité #solidarité #asile #migrations #Serbie #réfugiés #Belgrade

  • • L’hiver « dans le pire des camps de migrants en Europe »
    https://www.mediapart.fr/studio/portfolios/l-hiver-dans-le-pire-des-camps-de-migrants-en-europe

    Cela fait presque un an que la « route des Balkans » a officiellement fermé. Pourtant, chaque mois, 900 personnes entrent en Serbie via la Bulgarie ou la Macédoine, dont un tiers de mineurs non accompagnés. La Serbie compte aujourd’hui dix-huit camps de transit, accueillant 7400 migrants. Après avoir souvent subi des violences physiques de la part des forces de l’ordre, ils doivent y affronter des conditions effroyables.

    Photo : Marija Jankovic. Texte : Philippe Bertinchamps

    #photographie #balkans #migrant

  • Des #poux, le froid: à #Belgrade, l’hiver infernal des migrants

    Ils toussent, souffrent d’engelure, de la gale, sont infestés de poux de corps : des centaines de jeunes migrants continuent d’affronter dehors, dans des conditions épouvantables, l’hiver polaire de Belgrade.


    https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1030634/des-poux-le-froid-a-belgrade-lhiver-infernal-des-migrants.html
    #froid #hiver #Serbie #asile #migrations #réfugiés

  • Serbia’s South: Reception centre in #Bujanovac, update Preševo Camp.

    Until March this year, the camp in #Preševo was the entry point for thousands of people from Macedonia into Serbia on their way North. Now, it turned into the opposite: the last stop in Serbia before people are pushed back south, to Macedonia.

    https://belgradeupdates.noblogs.org/post/2016/11/17/serbias-south_reception-centre-in-bujanovac-update-presevo-
    #Serbie #migrations #asile #réfugiés #Presevo #camp_de_réfugiés #Macédoine #push-back #refoulement

  • Il y a 20 ans, les manifestations contre Milosevic à Belgrade

    Un message de Nela Melic du London College of Communication (et avec qui j’ai travaillé lors des séminaires au Goldsmiths Institute de Londres)

    On this day, exactly 20 years ago Belgraders begun a 3 months long protest against then president Milosevic. I have been so inspired by that event as a young women that I have done a PhD on it. Thanks to Kulturklammer, centre for cultural interactions in Belgrade, it is now a digital record that is accessible via Internet. Please spread it around and lets remember how great we were and how great Belgrade can be:

    http://www.kulturklammer.org/nm

    Explore the map and email me if you want to contribute to it. Thank you to all who have already done so and making this project possible.

    –-

    www.arts.ac.uk/lcc
    https://spaceandplacelcc.wordpress.com
    http://www.kulturklammer.org/nm

    #serbie #belgrade #Milosevic #cartographie #cartographie_dynamique