• Réfugiés : contourner la #Croatie par le « #triangle » #Serbie - #Roumanie - #Hongrie

    Une nouvelle route migratoire s’est ouverte dans les Balkans : en Serbie, de plus en plus d’exilés tentent de contourner les barbelés barrant la #Hongrie en faisant un crochet par la Roumanie, avant d’espérer rejoindre les pays riches de l’Union européenne. Un chemin plus long et pas moins risqué, conséquence des politiques sécuritaires imposées par les 27.

    Il est 18h30, le jour commence à baisser sur la plaine de #Voïvodine. Un groupe d’une cinquantaine de jeunes hommes, sacs sur le dos et duvets en bandoulière, marche d’un pas décidé le long de la petite route de campagne qui relie les villages serbes de #Majdan et de #Rabe. Deux frontières de l’Union européenne (UE) se trouvent à quelques kilomètres de là : celle de la Hongrie, barrée depuis la fin 2015 d’une immense clôture barbelée, et celle de la Roumanie, moins surveillée pour le moment.

    Tous s’apprêtent à tenter le « #game », ce « jeu » qui consiste à échapper à la police et à pénétrer dans l’UE, en passant par « le triangle ». Le triangle, c’est cette nouvelle route migratoire à trois côtés qui permet de rejoindre la Hongrie, l’entrée de l’espace Schengen, depuis la Serbie, en faisant un crochet par la Roumanie. « Nous avons été contraints de prendre de nouvelles dispositions devant les signes clairs de l’augmentation du nombre de personnes traversant illégalement depuis la Serbie », explique #Frontex, l’Agence européenne de protection des frontières. Aujourd’hui, 87 de ses fonctionnaires patrouillent au côté de la police roumaine.

    Depuis l’automne 2020, le nombre de passages par cet itinéraire, plus long, est en effet en forte hausse. Les #statistiques des passages illégaux étant impossibles à tenir, l’indicateur le plus parlant reste l’analyse des demandes d’asiles, qui ont explosé en Roumanie l’année dernière, passant de 2626 à 6156, soit une hausse de 137%, avec un pic brutal à partir du mois d’octobre. Selon les chiffres de l’Inspectoratul General pentru Imigrări, les services d’immigrations roumains, 92% de ces demandeurs d’asile étaient entrés depuis la Serbie.

    “La Roumanie et la Hongrie, c’est mieux que la Croatie.”

    Beaucoup de ceux qui espèrent passer par le « triangle » ont d’abord tenté leur chance via la Bosnie-Herzégovine et la Croatie avant de rebrousser chemin. « C’est difficile là-bas », raconte Ahmed, un Algérien d’une trentaine d’années, qui squatte une maison abandonnée de Majdan avec cinq de ses compatriotes. « Il y a des policiers qui patrouillent cagoulés. Ils te frappent et te prennent tout : ton argent, ton téléphone et tes vêtements. Je connais des gens qui ont dû être emmenés à l’hôpital. » Pour lui, pas de doutes, « la Roumanie et la Hongrie, c’est mieux ».

    La route du « triangle » a commencé à devenir plus fréquentée dès la fin de l’été 2020, au moment où la situation virait au chaos dans le canton bosnien d’#Una_Sana et que les violences de la police croate s’exacerbaient encore un peu plus. Quelques semaines plus tard, les multiples alertes des organisations humanitaires ont fini par faire réagir la Commission européenne. Ylva Johansson, la Commissaire suédoise en charge des affaires intérieures a même dénoncé des « traitements inhumains et dégradants » commis contre les exilés à la frontière croato-bosnienne, promettant une « discussion approfondie » avec les autorités de Zagreb. De son côté, le Conseil de l’Europe appelait les autorités croates à mettre fin aux actes de tortures contre les migrants et à punir les policiers responsables. Depuis, sur le terrain, rien n’a changé.

    Pire, l’incendie du camp de #Lipa, près de #Bihać, fin décembre, a encore aggravé la crise. Pendant que les autorités bosniennes se renvoyaient la balle et que des centaines de personnes grelottaient sans toit sous la neige, les arrivées se sont multipliées dans le Nord de la Serbie. « Rien que dans les villages de Majdan et Rabe, il y avait en permanence plus de 300 personnes cet hiver », estime Jeremy Ristord, le coordinateur de Médecins sans frontières (MSF) en Serbie. La plupart squattent les nombreuses maisons abandonnées. Dans cette zone frontalière, beaucoup d’habitants appartiennent aux minorités hongroise et roumaine, et Budapest comme Bucarest leur ont généreusement délivré des passeports après leur intégration dans l’UE. Munis de ces précieux sésames européens, les plus jeunes sont massivement partis chercher fortune ailleurs dès la fin des années 2000.

    Siri, un Palestinien dont la famille était réfugiée dans un camp de Syrie depuis les années 1960, squatte une masure défoncée à l’entrée de Rabe. En tout, ils sont neuf, dont trois filles. Cela fait de longs mois que le jeune homme de 27 ans est coincé en Serbie. Keffieh sur la tête, il tente de garder le sourire en racontant son interminable odyssée entamée voilà bientôt dix ans. Dès les premiers combats en 2011, il a fui avec sa famille vers la Jordanie, puis le Liban avant de se retrouver en Turquie. Finalement, il a pris la route des Balkans l’an dernier, avec l’espoir de rejoindre une partie des siens, installés en Allemagne, près de Stuttgart.

    “La police m’a arrêté, tabassé et on m’a renvoyé ici. Sans rien.”

    Il y a quelques jours, Siri à réussi à arriver jusqu’à #Szeged, dans le sud de la Hongrie, via la Roumanie. « La #police m’a arrêté, tabassé et on m’a renvoyé ici. Sans rien », souffle-t-il. À côté de lui, un téléphone crachote la mélodie de Get up, Stand up, l’hymne reggae de Bob Marley appelant les opprimés à se battre pour leurs droits. « On a de quoi s’acheter un peu de vivres et des cigarettes. On remplit des bidons d’eau pour nous laver dans ce qui reste de la salle de bains », raconte une des filles, assise sur un des matelas qui recouvrent le sol de la seule petite pièce habitable, chauffée par un poêle à bois décati.

    De rares organisations humanitaires viennent en aide à ces exilés massés aux portes de l’Union européennes. Basé à Belgrade, le petit collectif #Klikaktiv y passe chaque semaine, pour de l’assistance juridique et du soutien psychosocial. « Ils préfèrent être ici, tout près de la #frontière, plutôt que de rester dans les camps officiels du gouvernement serbe », explique Milica Švabić, la juriste de l’organisation. Malgré la précarité et l’#hostilité grandissante des populations locales. « Le discours a changé ces dernières années en Serbie. On ne parle plus de ’réfugiés’, mais de ’migrants’ venus islamiser la Serbie et l’Europe », regrette son collègue Vuk Vučković. Des #milices d’extrême-droite patrouillent même depuis un an pour « nettoyer » le pays de ces « détritus ».

    « La centaine d’habitants qui restent dans les villages de Rabe et de Majdan sont méfiants et plutôt rudes avec les réfugiés », confirme Abraham Rudolf. Ce sexagénaire à la retraite habite une modeste bâtisse à l’entrée de Majdan, adossée à une ruine squattée par des candidats à l’exil. « C’est vrai qu’ils ont fait beaucoup de #dégâts et qu’il n’y a personne pour dédommager. Ils brûlent les charpentes des toits pour se chauffer. Leurs conditions d’hygiène sont terribles. » Tant pis si de temps en temps, ils lui volent quelques légumes dans son potager. « Je me mets à leur place, il fait froid et ils ont faim. Au vrai, ils ne font de mal à personne et ils font même vivre l’épicerie du village. »

    Si le « triangle » reste a priori moins dangereux que l’itinéraire via la Croatie, les #violences_policières contre les sans papiers y sont pourtant monnaie courante. « Plus de 13 000 témoignages de #refoulements irréguliers depuis la Roumanie ont été recueillis durant l’année 2020 », avance l’ONG Save the Children.

    “C’est dur, mais on n’a pas le choix. Mon mari a déserté l’armée de Bachar. S’il rentre, il sera condamné à mort.”

    Ces violences répétées ont d’ailleurs conduit MSF à réévaluer sa mission en Serbie et à la concentrer sur une assistance à ces victimes. « Plus de 30% de nos consultations concernent des #traumatismes physiques », précise Jérémy Ristor. « Une moitié sont liés à des violences intentionnelles, dont l’immense majorité sont perpétrées lors des #push-backs. L’autre moitié sont liés à des #accidents : fractures, entorses ou plaies ouvertes. Ce sont les conséquences directes de la sécurisation des frontières de l’UE. »

    Hanan est tombée sur le dos en sautant de la clôture hongroise et n’a jamais été soignée. Depuis, cette Syrienne de 33 ans souffre dès qu’elle marche. Mais pas question pour elle de renoncer à son objectif : gagner l’Allemagne, avec son mari et leur neveu, dont les parents ont été tués dans les combats à Alep. « On a essayé toutes les routes », raconte l’ancienne étudiante en littérature anglaise, dans un français impeccable. « On a traversé deux fois le Danube vers la Roumanie. Ici, par le triangle, on a tenté douze fois et par les frontières de la Croatie et de la Hongrie, sept fois. » Cette fois encore, la police roumaine les a expulsés vers le poste-frontière de Rabe, officiellement fermé à cause du coronavirus. « C’est dur, mais on n’a pas le choix. Mon mari a déserté l’armée de Bachar avec son arme. S’il rentre, il sera condamné à mort. »

    Qu’importe la hauteur des murs placés sur leur route et la terrible #répression_policière, les exilés du nord de la Serbie finiront tôt ou tard par passer. Comme le déplore les humanitaires, la politique ultra-sécuritaire de l’UE ne fait qu’exacerber leur #vulnérabilité face aux trafiquants et leur précarité, tant pécuniaire que sanitaire. La seule question est celle du prix qu’ils auront à paieront pour réussir le « game ». Ces derniers mois, les prix se sont remis à flamber : entrer dans l’Union européenne via la Serbie se monnaierait jusqu’à 2000 euros.

    https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Refugies-contourner-la-Croatie-par-le-triangle-Serbie-Roumanie-Ho
    #routes_migratoires #migrations #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #contournement #Bihac #frontières #the_game

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • ’I’m certain that people have died here’ – German doctor talks about his experience treating migrants in Bosnia

    Aid workers are increasingly alarmed about the worsening situation of the some 1,500 migrants stuck in northwest Bosnia, hundreds of whom are staying in abandoned buildings and makeshift forest settlements with little access to aid. InfoMigrants spoke with German streetwork doctor Gerhard Trabert about his patients’ physical and mental health, a lack of cooperation at the expense of the migrants and what ought to happen next.

    Over the past 20 years, Gerhard Trabert has done no fewer than 34 medical aid missions abroad in countries and hotspots including Afghanistan, Syria, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Lesbos.

    In 1998, the German doctor and social worker founded the aid organization “Armut und Gesundheit in Deutschland” ("Poverty and Health in Germany"), whose medical streetwork approach is to seek out homeless people so they get access to health care. For his accomplishments and services, he received Germany’s Federal Cross of Merit in 2004 and was named professor of the year in 2020, among other awards.

    Trabert’s latest mission took him to northwest Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the living conditions of the some 1,500 migrants stranded in the Una-Sana canton are becoming increasingly miserable and dangerous. For months, they have been staying there without access to the most basic necessities.

    Despite not receiving an official permit to deliver medical care, Trabert and his team managed to treat some 170 people in Bihać, the administrative center of the Una-Sana canton, and several other hotspots in the region over the course of eight days.

    InfoMigrants spoke to the 64-year-old in mid-January, three days after he returned from his trip to Bosnia. The interview, which has been edited and condensed for clarity, was conducted by InfoMigrants’ Benjamin Bathke.

    ************************

    InfoMigrants: The experiences you had in Bosnia must still be very present. What is going through your mind now that you’re back in Germany?

    Gerhard Trabert: Seeing people living in ruins without access to food, water and medical care at freezing temperatures in shabby blankets and mattresses, who make open fire to somehow keep warm; seeing the migrant camp Lipa that’s still not functioning — all this makes (you) melancholic, sad and angry because these conditions shouldn’t, they mustn’t exist; and Europe is failing to act.

    It’s bizarre that only a ten-hour car drive away from my home, it almost feels like being almost in another world. It also feels bizarre how different and incommensurate priorities can be: While protective measures against COVID-19 are being discussed in Germany, none of these measures exist for migrants and refugees in Bosnia. People complain about not being able to go skiing this winter while migrants live in cold and damp huts full of snow and mud.

    All week long we had sub-zero temperatures. After spending three hours in one of the dwellings, we were chilled to the bone. Of course we were able to go where it’s warm afterwards, but the notion that these people are living in these conditions 24/7 is unfathomable. It’s hard to convey these things if you haven’t seen them with your own eyes or sensed it with your own body, if only temporarily.


    https://twitter.com/InfoMigrants/status/1351220558529224704

    Can you tell us why you decided to go to Bosnia and what your mission looked like, broadly speaking?

    It was a very spontaneous decision after watching all the media reports. We drove down there with two mobile clinics and had contact with our Bosnian partner organization SOS Bihać upfront. We tried to get a permit but decided we could no longer wait and must give it a try. Our vehicles are rolling consulting rooms equipped with an examination couch, medical equipment, medicine, dressing material, and so on. After waiting at the Croatian-Bosnian border for six hours, we were allowed to cross the border, but without our vehicles. A few hours later, we were told we couldn’t go anywhere because of the curfew in Bosnia, so they brought us to a nearby accommodation. The next day, it took another five hours to finally enter Bosnia with our vehicles and drive to Bihać.

    Our team of five consisted of two nurses, two social workers and myself in the role of a physician. We had brought high-quality, suitable material including sleeping bags usable for down to -15°C, sleeping pads, hygiene articles like diapers and toilet paper and warm underwear. We weren’t able to use our mobile clinics, especially in the first few days, because SOS Bihać told us police would come immediately if we show up at a hotspot with the vehicles. So we put as much as we could in our backpacks and walked to the hotspots.

    One of those hotspots you described on Facebook is the run-down four-story building in Bihać of what you say used to be an elderly care facility. What did you experience there?

    We saw more than 100 Pakistani and Afghan men staying there in the freezing cold, most of them between the ages of 20 and 40. We went from floor to floor, introduced ourselves and offered help. It was so dark we had to use flash lights and headlamps at all times. There was this biting smoke everywhere from the open fireplaces they used to keep somewhat warm and cook food.

    Around one in three people had some kind of injury that required medical attention. We treated lots of cases of scabies, which causes bacteria to enter the wound through itching. Fortunately, we had brought special salves and medication needed to treat scabies, which a local pharmacy didn’t have. Many people had respiratory diseases and problems with their digestive organs like gastritis due to the cold and their general living conditions. We also saw skin wounds and severe open wounds as well as typical stress disorders like high blood pressure. During our second visit, we changed the bandages.

    Experiencing people forced to live like this was very intense. Some people told us they had been staying in the building for over a year, one even said it’s been three years. They occasionally try to cross the border, get pushed back and return to the ruin.

    https://gw.infomigrants.net/media/resize/my_image_big/5a72f32860f584ddd9f1aa6e8c805ff8e535fd37.jpeg

    What do the surroundings of the ruin look like?

    It’s a hotspot in the middle of the city, next to a river. The distance to our apartment in Bihać, which has a population of around 50,000, was only 200 meters. During the day, people were out and about in the city for a while and received some food at kiosks. I saw some shovel snow, so perhaps they received some money in exchange. But a regular care concept for these people doesn’t exist. Drinking water, groceries, sanitary facilities — the migrants are more or less dependent on themselves.

    I also noticed protests by locals, but we were told those Bosnians weren’t against refugees and migrants per se but against illegal hotspots. They called for accommodating and providing for them instead of living in the middle of Bihać by the hundreds. But it seems that nobody on the Bosnian side feels responsible for providing for them.

    What about the NGOs — to what extent can they alleviate the suffering?

    My impression after a week on the ground is that there was no real cooperation, interconnectedness or communication between the NGOs. We even sensed some competition. It’s a scrap for power and competence, and many things happened in a very uncoordinated way.

    Regarding Bosnian authorities, there are conflicts between the Una-Sana canton and the capital Sarajevo. Overall, the different players didn’t look at who has which resources, who can take on which task, and so on. I perceived the situation as absolute bleak. And I do have to say that this imbroglio was wanted from the side of Bosnian authorities, which didn’t surprise me as I know it from my time on Lesbos, where the Greek, but also the EU authorities acted similarly: Signaling time and again to the people that they were not welcome there. So I assume chaos is part of the strategy.

    How does the group dynamics among the migrants staying in the hotspots look like? Are there hierarchies and tensions?

    From my experience on the ground in Bosnia, but also from missions in other countries, I must say that there is a hierarchy among the different nationalities. Syrians usually hold the top spot, followed by Afghans, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and northern African countries like Morocco. Why? Because Syrians have the best shot at receiving asylum. Migrants there know exactly how Europe reacts. This hierarchy sometimes manifests in violent confrontations — we treated stab wounds, for instance. Moroccans and Algerians told us they couldn’t go to groups from other countries without getting sent away. There are some mixed groups, including people from Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as Moroccans and Algerians.

    What can you tell us about people’s mental health?

    Please allow me to make a short scientific digression. There are three forms of traumatization, primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary and secondary cases occur when people suffer from violence directly or observe others becoming the victim of violence, respectively. My point is about the tertiary form of traumatization, or sequential traumatization. It means that a person with a primary or secondary trauma — and that includes all the 1,500 people in northwest Bosnia — who isn’t received with respect, who isn’t able to share their experiences with others, who isn’t listened to or shown empathy, also suffers from tertiary traumatization. The tragic thing about this third form is that it is graver than the first two because only then does the trauma become chronic; only then they have flashbacks, anxieties, sleep disorders, depressions, panic attacks and heightened risk of suicide. All this means that the way we treat those people leads to another, active traumatization. And you can feel it when you talk to talk to them.

    Speaking of suicides, you said in a recent interview that you “wouldn’t be surprised if people died here”. What made you arrive at this conclusion?

    We were told there were bears and wolves in the woods in the Una-Sana canton that have attacked and killed migrants in the past, as well as many wild dogs that have bitten many of them. We treated one person with a bite wound from a dog, which is extremely dangerous because of the certain kind of germs in that wound. If such a wound isn’t treated with antibiotics, his life is in danger. We gave him a special antibiotics. He also had a swollen, infected hand. I cannot imagine that nobody has died yet — and dies — in these conditions. The question is how deaths are dealt with, and I believe they are swept under the rug. If you look at the living conditions as well as the diseases and illnesses of these people with a bit of common sense, I’m certain that people have died.

    On your Facebook page, you also wrote about treating small children.

    In Bosanska Bojna, a small village north of Bihać directly on the border with Croatia, a contact who was shooting a film there had met 20 families who lived in ramshackle houses and ruins with their infants and toddlers. We were able to drive there with our mobile clinics because there were no controls. We treated infections, inflammations of the middle ear, which unless it is treated can lead to meningitis. It seemed that the children there were well cared for by and large, but it’s always difficult to tell because children being able to suppress many things fairly well means it’s not easy to see the scars and wounds on their souls.

    Many had stomach aches and nausea, which could stem from the hygienic conditions, but could also be an indicator for a psychosomatic component. Children can also get depression, but the symptoms are different from those in adults: Most of the time, children are very nervous or hyperactive. Oftentimes, this is interpreted as attention deficit disorder, when it is in fact a depression. One sees that time and again among migrant children: Being hyperactive or reclusive, which I also saw in Bosanska Bojna. Partly no talking and no eye contact, nothing. Symptoms like these are always signs for psychic traumatization.

    What did you hear about violent push backs at the hand of Croatian police?

    We have seen many wounds on arms and legs that might well have been caused by beatings. Many call trying to cross the borders “Game” — they go back time and again in the hope to eventually encounter Croatians who allow them into the country.

    Calling it “Game” — is that some kind of coping strategy or black humor?

    I think it speaks to an optimism bias that’s especially prevalent in situations of extreme stress like the one migrants in northwest Bosnia are in. They perceive and describe their situation much more positive than it objectively is. This also manifests in their language, so “Game” is a trivialization to suppress the brutality of the experience a bit. Optimism bias also applies to their general situation and their health conditions, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to act in their situation or survive. It’s astounding what the body and the psyche do in order to deal with such life-threatening situations.

    Why do so many people choose to live outside of the camp in Lipa?

    Lipa is located at 750 meters in an area hostile to life. It is surrounded by wood, and it’s cold and windy there. There is no infrastructure nearby. The village of Lipa is hours away by foot, and you have to use a dirt road for two kilometers to reach the camp. It’s obvious that the location of the camp emphasizes to the people: “You are not welcome here, and we kind of don’t care what happens to you.”

    That’s why people look for opportunities elsewhere like in Bihać, where they might get some kind of assistance or earn some money by working somewhere. So they use former factories, the ruins of the said elderly care facility or the so-called jungle camp in Velika Kladuša, where we also treated people. These hotspots are everywhere because there is no real care concept, like I said before. So people try to create a certain amount of ’free space’ for themselves they can shape more actively — notwithstanding all the other deprivations, because hardly anybody goes to those spaces and brings food and water.

    From your perspective, what needs to happen now to help migrants in northwestern Bosnia?

    My principal claim is to evacuate all of the people there and distribute them among EU member states. It’s possible, we can achieve it and it needs to happen. Their living conditions are not in keeping with human rights and are inhumane. We cannot wait for all of Europe to go along with this. There’s a shift to the right across Europe, toward nationalism and racism, which I also see in this debate. We have to take a stand, and German needs to lead the way.

    Right this moment we need to conceptually organize how medical care can be provided. This needs to happen immediately. The EU alongside Bosnia needs to show where money is invested in a transparent way. At Lipa, we need tents that protect people from all kinds of weather. We also need a hygiene concept and sanitary facilities. All of this is possible — the containers can be brought there and be installed quickly. Moreover, we need a real interconnectedness and cooperation between the different organizations, and ideally a UN organization like UNHCR at the helm that brings together all the different players and decides who does what and where. My impression is that the Bosnian authorities are overburdened and ill-suited, which has something to do with the old wounds and still existent power struggles and rivalries from the Bosnian war.

    Will you go back to Bosnia and Herzegovina in case you receive the permission from the Bosnian authorities to deliver medical aid?

    Yes, in that case we would go back there, at least with one mobile clinic. We would then deliver medical aid in cooperation with others and might leave the vehicle in Bosnia long-term, perhaps by lending it to a different NGO to use free of charge like we’re doing right now in Sicily with an Italian NGO.

    https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/29741/i-m-certain-that-people-have-died-here-german-doctor-talks-about-his-e
    #route_des_Balkans #Bosnie #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Balkans #santé_mentale #violence #Gerhard_Trabert #Lipa #hiver #froid #neige #Bihać #hotspot #hotspots #traumatisme #the_game #game #camp_de_réfugiés

  • Le camp de migrants de #Lipa, en #Bosnie, ravagé par un #incendie

    Le camp de Lipa, dans le nord-ouest de la Bosnie, ravagé par les flammes. Un violent incendie s’est déclaré ce mercredi dans ce camp de migrants situé dans la région de #Bihac, près de la frontière avec la Croatie. 1 200 personnes y étaient hébergées. Aucune victime n’est à déplorer. Selon des témoins, le sinistre a démarré dans une installation de stockage de combustibles. Il s’est rapidement propagé.

    Selon la directrice du camp, Natasa Omerovic, ce sont d’anciens résidents qui l’ont déclenché à un moment où le camp était fermé pour être déplacé.

    Selon Peter Van der Auweraert, coordinateur de la mission de l’Organisation internationale pour les Migration (OIM) en Bosnie-Herzégovine, la plupart des infrastructures ont été détruites. L’#OIM, qui gérait ce centre d’accueil, a récemment annoncé son retrait en raison de mauvaises conditions.


    https://twitter.com/PeterAuweraert/status/1341721207939448833

    Début décembre, ce camp de #tentes avait fait l’objet de vives critiques. Etabli comme une réponse #provisoire pour faire face à la #pandémie de #coronavirus, il n’était pas équipé pour des conditions hivernales. Le camps incendié n’était pas équipé de chauffage et n’avait jamais été branché sur le réseau électrique.

    L’Organisation internationale pour les migrations et la Commission européenne exhortaient les autorités locales à trouver une solution pour héberger ailleurs les résidents du camp de Lipa, ainsi que quelque 2 000 autres migrants dépourvus de logement dans la région de Bihac, près de la frontière de l’Union européenne.

    Les autorités municipales et cantonales de Bihac refusent de permettre à l’OIM de rouvrir l’ancien centre d’accueil à Bihac, dans les halles d’une ancienne usine, malgré une instruction du gouvernement fédéral en ce sens. Il a été fermé peu avant les élections municipales de novembre, pour répondre à une pression croissante des habitants.

    « Les autorités compétentes doivent coopérer et agir dans la plus grande urgence pour répondre aux besoins des réfugiés et des migrants sans abris et sauver les vies », a insisté lundi la Commission européenne dans un communiqué.

    https://fr.euronews.com/2020/12/23/le-camp-de-migrants-de-lipa-en-bosnie-ravage-par-un-incendie

    #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #feu #asile #migrations #réfugiés #camps_de_réfugiés

    –—

    Ajouté à la métaliste sur les incendies dans des camps de réfugiés (principalement en Grèce, mais du coup, élargissement à la route des Balkans) :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/851143#message892911

    • Bosnie : le camp de Lipa ravagé par un incendie, 1 300 migrants à la rue

      Le camp de Lipa, dans le nord-ouest de la Bosnie, a été complètement détruit mercredi par un incendie probablement « criminel », ont indiqué les autorités. Environ 1 300 migrants, qui y étaient hébergés, se retrouvent désormais à la rue en pleine hiver avec des températures glaciales.

      « Jour terrible » pour le camp de Lipa. Dans un tweet, Peter Van der Auweraert, le représentant de l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM) en Bosnie-Herzégovine, ne cache pas son désespoir.

      Le camp de migrants, situé dans le nord-ouest du pays, vient de partir en fumée, ce mercredi 23 décembre. Environ 1 300 migrants y étaient hébergés dans des conditions dramatiques.


      https://twitter.com/PeterAuweraert/status/1341704305125027840

      « L’incendie s’est déclaré à 11h. Les pompiers ont réussi à l’éteindre, mais les quatre grandes tentes dans lesquelles les migrants dormaient ont brulé », a déclaré à l’AFP un porte-parole de la police, Ale Siljdedic, précisant qu’il n’y avait pas eu de blessés.
      « Un acte criminel »

      « Nous supposons qu’il s’agit d’un acte criminel et que des résidents du camp en sont à l’origine », a-t-il poursuivi. Peter Van der Auweraert évoque lui d’"anciens résidents [qui] ont mis le feu à trois tentes et aux conteneurs après que la plupart des migrants ont quitté le camp".

      https://twitter.com/PeterAuweraert/status/1341721207939448833

      Les exilés auraient agi en signe de protestation : mis en place en avril dans ce village près de Bihac, le site avait été installé comme une solution temporaire, rien n’étaient prévu pour que ses résidents y passent l’hiver. Le camp incendié n’était pas équipé d’électricité et de chauffage, alors que le pays connaît actuellement une vague de froid.

      « Désastre après désastre », a encore déploré Peter Van der Auweraert de l’OIM.
      Des milliers de personnes à la rue

      L’agence onusienne, qui gérait ce centre d’accueil, avait récemment annoncé son retrait de la structure en raison des mauvaises conditions de vie des exilés. L’OIM et la Commission européenne exhortaient depuis début décembre les autorités locales à trouver une solution pour héberger ailleurs ces 1 300 personnes, ainsi que quelque 2 000 autres migrants dépourvus de logement dans la région de Bihac, près de la frontière de l’Union européenne.

      Avec cet incendie, les résidents se retrouvent à la rue, en plein hiver et alors qu’est prévue une forte baisse de température dans les prochains jours. « Ils vont probablement se diriger vers Bihac (à 30 km au nord-ouest de Lipa, ndlr) et vont occuper des bâtiments abandonnés », a déclaré Ale Siljdedic.

      Les autorités municipales et cantonales de Bihac refusent que l’OIM rouvre l’ancien centre d’accueil à Bihac, dans les halles d’une ancienne usine, malgré une instruction du gouvernement fédéral en ce sens. Il a été fermé peu avant les élections municipales de novembre, pour répondre à une pression croissante des habitants.

      « Les autorités compétentes doivent coopérer et agir dans la plus grande urgence pour répondre aux besoins des réfugiés et des migrants sans abris et sauver des vies », a insisté lundi la Commission européenne dans un communiqué.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/29292/bosnie-le-camp-de-lipa-ravage-par-un-incendie-1-300-migrants-a-la-rue

      #SDF

    • Thousands of refugees without shelter after Bosnia camp burns

      Dozens spend the night at a damaged metal container near the site of the fire, where only a ghostly steel construction remained.

      More than a thousand refugees and migrants from Asia, the Middle East and North Africa were left to sleep in the cold after their camp in northwestern Bosnia burned down amid a dispute among Bosnian politicians over where to house them.

      On Wednesday, a fire destroyed the camp in Lipa housing about 1,200 people. Police and United Nations officials have said the blaze was probably started by people unhappy at the temporary closure of the camp, scheduled for the same day, and uncertainty about where they would be relocated in Bosnia.

      Dozens of men spent the night at a damaged metal container near the site of the fire, where only a ghostly steel construction remained. Smoke was still rising from some burned patches of ground on Thursday morning.

      Others tried to erect nylon tents and slept fully dressed on the frozen ground. Most of them walked through the woods towards the town of Bihac, near the Croatian border, avoiding areas marked with warnings about landmines remaining from the Bosnian war in the 1990s.

      About 10,000 refugees and migrants from Asia, the Middle East and North Africa are stuck in Bosnia, hoping to reach wealthier countries in the European Union.

      “I couldn’t sleep last night, I sat all night,” said Bylal from Pakistan, adding that he would wait to see if the government would provide them with a new shelter.

      The Lipa camp, which was opened last spring as a temporary shelter for the summer months 25 km away from Bihac, was set to be shut on Wednesday for winter refurbishing. But Bosnia’s authorities failed to find alternative accommodation for residents.

      The central government wanted the refugees and migrants to temporarily return to the Bira camp in Bihac, which was shut down in October, but local authorities disagreed, saying that other parts of Bosnia should also share the burden of the migrant crisis.

      “Please open the Bira camp so everybody goes there, it’s very good there,” said Yasin, also from Pakistan. “Here it’s cold, we can’t stay here, we don’t have food, we are hungry.”

      The European Union, which had supported Bosnia with 60 million euros to manage the refugee crisis and pledged 25 million euros more, has repeatedly asked the authorities to find an alternative to the unsuitable Lipa camp, warning of an unfolding humanitarian crisis.

      “We urge … the authorities to rise above political considerations and temporarily reopen the centre Bira in Bihac,” the EU said in a statement on Wednesday

      https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/12/24/thousands-of-refugees-without-shelter-after-bosnia-camp-burns

    • Bosnie : après l’incendie du camp de Lipa, des centaines de migrants prisonniers du #froid et de la #neige

      Dans le nord de la Bosnie-Herzégovine, des centaines de migrants sont toujours sans solution d’hébergement depuis l’incendie du camp de Lipa le 23 décembre. La situation est extrêmement inquiétante alors que des chutes de neige et des températures glaciales se sont abattues sur la région ce week-end.

      La situation était déjà compliquée dans le camp de Lipa, elle est devenue catastrophique. Dans le nord-ouest de la Bosnie, plusieurs centaines de migrants sont contraints de vivre dans le froid et la neige après l’incendie de ce camp le 23 décembre.

      Ces hommes – originaires d’Afghanistan et du Bangladesh pour la plupart – tentaient samedi de se protéger du froid et du vent en s’enveloppant dans des couvertures et des sacs de couchage, ont observé des journaliste des l’agence Associated Press (AP).

      La Croix-Rouge de Bosnie a distribué des repas aux exilés qui ne survivent que grâce à ces colis alimentaires. La police ne les autorise pas à quitter le site, les empêchant de se rendre dans la ville voisine de Bihac pour acheter quelques denrées alimentaires.

      « Lipa est devenue une prison hivernale », a dénoncé sur Twitter Peter Van der Auweraert, représentant de l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations en Bosnie-Herzégovine. « Les migrants ne sont pas autorisés à quitter le site de Lipa et doivent maintenant faire du feu dans les tentes restantes pour se tenir chaud […] C’est une tragédie totalement inutile », ajoute-t-il.


      https://twitter.com/PeterAuweraert/status/1343267176321585154

      Dans la grande tente qui a survécu à l’incendie et où dorment désormais les migrants, le toit commence à ployer sous le poids de la neige, met par ailleurs en garde Peter Van der Auweraert, pointant un « terrible accident qui n’attend que de se produire ».
      « Nous vivons comme des animaux »

      L’association No Name Kitchen a indiqué, de son côté, « faire de son mieux pour procurer des vêtements chauds et de la nourriture aux personnes ». « La police a bloqué la route et plus de 1000 personnes se trouvent dans la forêt autour du camp de Lipa », précise l’organisation.


      https://twitter.com/NoNameKitchen1/status/1342890272221523969

      « Nous vivons comme des animaux. Même les animaux vivent mieux que nous ! » a déclaré un Pakistanais à AP qui ne s’est identifié que par son prénom, Kasim. « S’ils ne nous aident pas, nous mourrons, alors aidez-nous s’il vous plaît. »


      https://twitter.com/PeterAuweraert/status/1342775470899781638

      « Ce n’est pas ainsi que quiconque devrait vivre », a également pointé Peter Van der Auweraert, appelant la classe politique bosnienne au « courage » et à l’"action" pour débloquer la situation et autoriser l’ouverture d’un nouveau centre d’hébergement.

      La capitaine de navire allemande Carola Rackete a également alerté sur les réseaux sociaux sur l’urgence de la situation dans le nord de la Bosnie et appelé à soutenir les associations qui viennent en aide aux exilés.

      https://twitter.com/CaroRackete/status/1343181760167866368

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/29320/bosnie-apres-l-incendie-du-camp-de-lipa-des-centaines-de-migrants-pris

  • La via della vergogna Sulla rotta balcanica delle migrazioni

    Il viaggio disperato lungo la rotta dei Balcani, tra violenze e torture inaudite da parte della polizia Centinaia di profughi con diritto alla protezione respinti dall’Italia

    È la schiena curva e livida dei respinti a dire le sprangate. Sono le gambe sanguinanti a raccontare la disperata corsa giù dal valico. A piedi nudi, con le caviglie spezzate dalle bastonate e i cani dell’esercito croato che azzannano gli ultimi della fila. È l’umiliato silenzio di alcuni ragazzi visitati dai medici volontari nel campo bosniaco di #Bihac per le cure e il referto: stuprati e seviziati dalla polizia con dei rami raccolti nella boscaglia. I meno sfortunati se la sono cavata con il marchio di una spranga incandescente, a perenne memoria dell’ingresso indesiderato nell’Unione Europea.

    Gli orrori avvengono alla luce del sole. Affinché gli altri, i recidivi degli attraversamenti e quelli che dalle retrovie attendono notizie, battano in ritirata. Velika Kladuša e il valico della paura. Di qua è Croazia, Europa. Di la è Bosnia, fuori dalla cortina Ue. Di qua si proclamano i diritti, ma si usa il bastone. Oramai tra i profughi della rotta balcanica lo sanno tutti che con gli agenti sloveni e gli sbirri croati non si scherza.

    «Siamo stati consegnati dalla polizia slovena alla polizia croata. Siamo stati picchiati, bastonati, ci hanno tolto le scarpe, preso i soldi e i telefoni. Poi ci hanno spinto fino al confine con la Bosnia, a piedi scalzi. Tanti piangevano per il dolore e per essere stati respinti». Sono le parole di chi aveva finalmente visto i cartelli stradali in italiano, ma è stato rimandato indietro, lungo una filiera del respingimento come non se ne vedeva dalla guerra nella ex Jugoslavia. Certi metodi non sembrano poi cambiati di molto.

    Tre Paesi e tre trattamenti. I militari italiani non alzano le mani, ma sono al corrente di cosa accadrà una volta rimandati indietro i migranti intercettati a Trieste come a Gorizia. Più si torna al punto di partenza, e peggio andranno le cose. Le testimonianze consegnate ad Avvenire dai profughi, dalle organizzazioni umanitarie, dai gruppi di avvocati lungo tutta la rotta balcanica, sembrano arrivare da un’altra epoca.

    Le foto non mentono. Un uomo si è visto quasi strappare il tendine del ginocchio destro da uno dei mastini delle guardie di confine croate. Quasi tutti hanno il torso attraversato da ematomi, cicatrici, escoriazioni. C’è chi adesso è immobile nella tendopoli di Bihac con la gamba ingessata, chi con il volto completamente bendato, ragazzini con le braccia bloccate dai tutori in attesa che le ossa tornino al loro posto. I segni degli scarponi schiacciati contro la faccia, le costole incrinate, i calci sui genitali. Un ragazzo pachistano mostra una profonda e larga ferita sul naso, il cuoio capelluto malridotto, mentre un infermiere volontario gli pratica le quotidiane medicazioni. Un afghano appena maggiorenne ha l’orecchio destro interamente ricucito con i punti a zigzag. Centinaia raccontano di essere stati allontanati dal suolo italiano.

    Una pratica, quella dei respingimenti a ritroso dal confine triestino fino agli accampamenti nel fango della Bosnia, non più episodica. «Solo nei primi otto mesi del 2020 sono state riammesse alla frontiera italo-slovena oltre 900 persone, con una eccezionale impennata nel trimestre estivo, periodo nel quale il fenomeno era già noto al mondo politico che è però rimasto del tutto inerte », lamenta Gianfranco Schiavone, triestino e vicepresidente di Asgi, l’associazione di giuristi specializzati nei diritti umani. «Tra le cittadinanze degli stranieri riammessi in Slovenia il primo posto va agli afghani (811 persone), seguiti da pachistani, iracheni, iraniani, siriani e altre nazionalità, la maggior parte delle quali – precisa Schiavone – relative a Paesi da cui provengono persone con diritto alla protezione ». A ridosso del territorio italiano arriva in realtà solo chi riesce a sfuggire alla caccia all’uomo fino ai tornanti che precedono la prima bandiera tricolore. Per lasciarsi alle spalle quei trecento chilometri da Bihac a Trieste possono volerci due settimane.

    Secondo il Danish Refugee Council, che nei Paesi coinvolti ha inviato numerosi osservatori incaricati di raccogliere testimonianze dirette, nel 2019 sono tornate nel solo campo di bosniaco di Bihac 14.444 persone, 1.646 solo nel giugno di quest’anno.

    I dati a uso interno del Viminale e visionati da Avvenire confermano l’incremento delle “restituzioni” direttamente alla polizia slovena. Nel secondo semestre del 2019 le riammissioni attive verso Zagabria sono state 107: 39 da Gorizia e 78 da Trieste. Il resto, circa 800 casi, si concentra tutto nel 2020. Il “Border violence monitoring”, una rete che riunisce lungo tutta la dorsale balcanica una dozzina di organizzazioni, tra cui medici legali e avvocati, ha documentato con criteri legali (testimonianze, foto, referti medici) 904 casi di violazione dei diritti umani. Lungo i sentieri sul Carso, tra i cespugli nei fitti boschi in cima ai dirupi, si trovano i tesserini identificativi rilasciati con i timbri dell’Alto commissariato Onu per i rifugiati o dall’Agenzia Onu per le migrazioni. I migranti li abbandonano lì. Testimoniano di come a decine avessero ottenuto la registrazione nei campi allestiti a ridosso del confine balcanico dell’Unione Europea.

    Quel documento, che un tempo sarebbe stato considerato un prezioso salvacondotto per invocare poi la protezione internazionale, oggi può essere una condanna. Perché averlo addosso conferma di provenire dalla Bosnia e dunque facilita la “riconsegna” alla polizia slovena. Anche per questo lo chiamano “game”.

    Un “gioco” puoi vincere una domanda d’asilo in Italia o in un’altro Paese dell’Ue, o un’altra tornata nell’inferno dei respingimenti. «Quando eravamo nascosti in mezzo ai boschi, la polizia slovena – racconta un altro dei respinti – era anche accompagnata dai cani. Qualcuno si era accucciato nel bosco e non era stato inizialmente visto, ma quattro o cinque cani li hanno scovati e quando hanno provato a scappare sono stati rincorsi dai cani e catturati».

    https://www.avvenire.it/attualita/pagine/lorrore-alle-porte-delleuropa

    #photographie #témoignage #images #violence #violences #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #torture #Croatie #game #the_game #viols #Velika_Kladuša #Velika_Kladusa #Bosnie #Slovénie #refoulements_en_chaîne #push-backs #refoulements #réadmission #chiens

    • Violenza sui migranti, in un video le prove dalla Croazia

      Impugnano una spranga da cui pende una corda. Stanno per spaccare ginocchia, frustare sulla schiena, lanciare sassi mirando alla testa dei profughi. Sono soldati croati...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tacXXCD8UL8&feature=emb_logo

      Non è per il freddo delle gelate balcaniche che gli uomini appostati nella radura indossano un passamontagna. Il branco è lì per un’imboscata. Impugnano una spranga da cui pende una corda. Stanno per spaccare ginocchia, frustare sulla schiena, lanciare sassi mirando alla testa dei profughi. Sono soldati croati. E stavolta Zagabria non potrà più dire che non ci sono prove.

      Ora c’è un video che conferma le accuse di questi anni. Nei giorni scorsi, dopo la ricostruzione di Avvenire e la pubblicazione di immagini e testimonianze di alcune tra le migliaia di persone seviziate dai gendarmi, era intervenuta la commissaria agli Affari Interni dell’Ue, Ylva Johansson. «Abbiamo sentito di respingimenti dagli Stati membri e non è accettabile». Nessun accenno, però, alla violenza. Il governo di Zagabria, infatti, ha sempre respinto le accuse dei profughi respinti a catena da Italia, Slovenia e Croazia. «Nonostante i report lo Stato croato ha negato, mettendo in dubbio la credibilità dei migranti, degli attivisti e dei giornalisti – ricordano i legali del “Border violence monitoring” – citando la mancanza di prove fotografiche». Ora quelle prove ci sono.

      I fotogrammi e i video raccolti sul campo non lasciano spazio a dubbi. La frusta schiocca i primi colpi. Un uomo viene atterrato dopo che l’aggressore lo ha quasi azzoppato. Neanche il tempo di stramazzare tra i rovi che viene centrato in pieno volto. Poco distante, in un fossato che segna il confine con la Bosnia Erzegovina, altri due uomini a volto coperto, entrambi con divise blu scure, afferrano dei grossi sassi e li scagliano contro alcuni ragazzi che corrono per riguadagnare il confine bosniaco, a meno di 30 metri, dove gli aggressori croati sanno di non potere addentrarsi.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtEDbuDbqzU&feature=youtu.be

      Le sequenze sono raccapriccianti. Le urla spezzano il fiato. I militari infieriscono ripetutamente su persone inermi. A tutti sono state tolte le scarpe, i telefoni, il denaro, gli zainetti con gli unici ricordi delle propRie origini. Un uomo piange. Il volto gonfio, una gamba dolorante, alcune ferite alla testa, il labbro superiore sanguinante. Nella sua lingua biascica la più universale delle invocazioni: «Mamma mia».

      Le immagini,che risalgono alla fine di marzo, sono state analizzate per mesi da legali e periti di vari Paesi per conto del “Border violence monitoring”, il network di organizzazioni di volontariato attivo in tutti i Balcani. Nel video integrale (sintetizzato da Avvenire in una versione di 4 minuti in questo articolo) si possono vedere i filmati con le ricostruzioni forensi. Oltre alle identità dei feriti è stato possibile riconoscere anche i corpi di appartenenza dei picchiatori: guardie di confine, nuclei speciali della polizia e militari dell’esercito.

      Le forze di sicurezza, come sempre, avevano pensato a impedire che le testimonianze potessero trovare riscontri fotografici. Questa volta, però, un ragazzo afghano è riuscito a beffarli. Poco prima del respingimento altri agenti in un posto di polizia avevano rubato denaro, telefoni ed effetti personali. Con le scarpe e i vestiti avevano fatto un falò. Nella concitazione, da uno degli zainetti è scivolato un telefono. Il ragazzo ha fatto in tempo a nasconderlo nelle mutande. Per consegnarci le immagini della vergogna all’interno dell’Unone europea.

      Dopo una corsa disperata, inseguito dalle sprangate e dalle scudisciate, una volta superato il fossato ha riacceso il cellulare danneggiato durante l’aggressione. C’era ancora abbastanza batteria. Si sente anche la sua voce mentre non riesce a tener ferme le mani: «Mi fa male una gamba, ho troppo dolore». Un altro accanto a lui comprende l’importanza di quegli istanti: «Ti tengo io, devi continuare a riprendere».

      Pochi giorni prima The Guardian aveva pubblicato un inchiesta di Lorenzo Tondo: la polizia croata veniva accusata di segnare i migranti islamici con una croce sulla testa, ma ancora una volta Zagabria aveva negato.

      Le riammissioni a catena, con cui dal confine italo–sloveno «si deportano illegalmente i rifugiati fino in Bosnia, hanno l’effetto di esporre le persone a condizioni inumane e a un rischio di morte: vanno pertanto immediatamente fermate», chiede il Consorzio italiano di solidarietà (Ics). Anche in Bosnia vengono denunciati episodi di violenza ed uso eccessivo della forza da parte della polizia.

      L’11 dicembre, sei giorni dopo la pubblicazione della prima puntata dell’inchiesta di Avvenire (LEGGI QUI), è intervenuta la Commissaria ai diritti umani del Consiglio d’Europa, il consesso che ha dato vita alla Corte europea dei diritti dell’Uomo. In una lettera la bosniaca Dunja Mijatovic parla delle «segnalazioni di gruppi di vigilantes locali che attaccano i migranti e distruggono i loro beni personali», esprimendo preoccupazione «per le segnalazioni di attacchi e minacce contro i difensori dei diritti umani che aiutano i migranti, tra cui una campagna diffamatoria e minacce di morte».

      E non sarà certo la prima neve a fermare le traversate.

      Ieri la polizia serba ha bloccato 300 persone in due distinte operazioni: 170 sono stati trovati nella zona di Kikinda, lungo un sentiero sul confine con la Romania; altri 140 sono stati vicino al valico di Horgos, alla frontiera con l’Ungheria. Sperano così di aggirare la sbirraglia.

      Nicola Bay, direttore in Bosnia del “Danish refugee council” spiega di avere identificato con la sua organizzazione «14.500 casi di respingimenti dalla Croazia alla Bosnia dall’inizio del 2020. Nel solo mese di ottobre, i casi sono stati 1.934, tra cui 189 episodi in cui migranti sono stati soggetti a brutale violenza, e in due episodi anche violenza sessuale, da parte di uomini in uniformi nere, con i volti mascherati». Perciò «non è accettabile che i respingimenti violenti siano utilizzati, di fatto, come strumento per il controllo dei confini dagli stati europei. È giunto il momento di esigere, da parte della Commissione Europea e degli stati membri della Ue, inclusa l’Italia, il pieno rispetto delle più basilari norme del diritto comunitario e internazionale».

      E non è escluso che grazie a queste immagini si apra finalmente una inchiesta giudiziaria per individuare i responsabili, i loro superiori e fermare i crimini contro gli esseri umani commessi nell’Unione Europea.

      https://www.avvenire.it/attualita/pagine/torture-su-migranti-al-confine-tra-croazia-e-bosnia-vide-scavo

    • L’inchiesta. Abusi sui migranti della rotta balcanica, scende in campo l’Ue

      Dopo le denunce su violenze e respingimenti, l’Agenzia Ue per i diritti umani: monitorare i comportamenti della polizia. Zagabria: violenze presunte. A Trieste con i volontari che curano le ferite

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBfEBYHMXXE&feature=emb_logo

      La lavanda dei piedi comincia all’ora del vespro. È il quotidiano rito dei volontari che ogni sera, nel piccolo parco tra la stazione e il vecchio porto, dai loro zaini da studente estraggono garze, cerotti, unguenti. Passano da lì gli impavidi del game, i superstiti della roulette russa dei respingimenti a catena, e a bastonate, verso la Bosnia. Cacciati fuori dai confini Ue.

      Dopo le nuove denunce di queste settimane, qualcosa tra Bruxelles e Zagabria si muove. L’agenzia Ue per i diritti fondamentali è pronta a monitorare i comportamenti delle polizie lungo i confini. Ma manca una data per l’avvio del piano di prevenzione degli abusi.

      Pochi giorni fa a Bruxelles hanno chiuso un rapporto che racconta di vicende sfuggite alle principali cronache internazionali. Sono ancora in corso le indagini per episodi ch si ripetono da anni senza che mai si arrivi a individuare delle responsabilità. Nel novembre 2017 «una bambina afghana di sei anni, Madina Hosseini, è stata uccisa da un treno in transito al confine tra Croazia e Serbia» si legge nel dossier, che precisa: «Secondo il rapporto del difensore civico croato, Madina e la sua famiglia erano arrivate in Croazia e avevano chiesto asilo, quando è stato detto loro di tornare in Serbia». Una violazione delle norme sul diritto d’asilo finita in dramma. La famiglia è stata trasferita «in un veicolo della polizia vicino alla ferrovia e istruita a seguire i binari fino alla Serbia. Poco dopo, la bambina di sei anni è stata uccisa da un treno». D allora non molto è cambiato in meglio.

      Da Kabul a Trieste sono 4mila chilometri. Da qui il villaggio di casa è lontano, la guerra anche. C’è chi l’ultimo tratto lo ha percorso cinque volte. Perché acciuffato dagli agenti sloveni, infine riportato in Bosnia dopo una lezione della polizia croata. E c’è chi a Trieste invece c’era quasi arrivato, ma è stato colto dalla polizia italiana sulla fascia di confine, e poco dopo «riammesso» in Slovenia, come prevede un vecchio accordo tra Roma e Lubiana siglato quando implodeva la ex Jugoslavia.

      Scarpe sfondate, vestiti rotti, le caviglie gonfie e gli occhi troppo stanchi di chi l’ultima volta che s’è accucciato su un materasso era in un qualche posto di polizia. Per Gianfranco Schiavone, vicepresidente dell’Associazione per gli studi giuridici sull’immigrazione (Asgi), è più che «anomalo che la riammissione possa avvenire senza l’emanazione di un provvedimento amministrativo». Anche perché «è indiscutibile che l’azione posta in essere dalla pubblica sicurezza attraverso l’accompagnamento forzato in Slovenia produce effetti rilevantissimi – aggiunge – sulla situazione giuridica dei soggetti interessati».

      Ricacciati indietro senza neanche poter presentare la domanda di protezione, molti passano per le mani delle guardie croate. Anche qui, però, il compatto muro di omertà tra uomini in divisa comincia a incrinarsi. La diffusione di immagini e filmati che documentano la presenza di gendarmi tra i picchiatori di migranti sta convincendo diversi agenti a denunciare anche i loro superiori. Gli ordini, infatti, arrivano dall’alto. Il merito è dell’Ufficio per la protezione dei diritti umani di Zagabria, dotato di poteri investigativi che stanno aprendo la strada a indagini della magistratura, garantendo l’anonimato ai poliziotti che collaborano con le indagini. Il ministero dell’Interno di Zagabria respinge le accuse arrivate nelle ultime settimane da testate come Der Spiegel, The Guardian e Avvenire, riguardo le violenze commesse dalle autorità lungo i confini. Foto e filmati mostrano uomini in divisa armati di spranghe e fruste. «Non si può confermare con certezza che siano membri regolari della polizia croata», si legge in una nota. «La polizia croata protegge il confine dalla migrazione illegale, lo protegge dalle azioni illegali e dai pericoli – aggiunge – che possono portare con sé persone senza documenti e senza identità, e lo fa per fornire pace e sicurezza al popolo croato». Tuttavia «non tolleriamo alcuna violenza nella protezione delle frontiere né (la violenza) è parte integrante delle nostre azioni». Riguardo al filmato e alla ricostruzione di Border Violence Monitoring «concludiamo che non abbiamo registrato azioni in base alla data e al luogo dichiarati nell’annuncio». Quali indagini siano state condotte non è però dato saperlo. «Controlleremo accuratamente i presunti eventi».

      Mentre dal Carso i primi refoli della sera si scontrano con quelli che soffiano dal mare, i volontari appostati nei dintorni della statua della principessa Sissi si preparano a un’altra serata con dolori da alleviare e lamenti da ascoltare. Lorena Fornasier, 67 anni, psicoterapeuta, e suo marito Gian Andrea Franchi, 83 anni, professore di filosofia in pensione, passano spesso di qua. Raccolgono quelli messi peggio. Lo fanno da anni, senza clamore, e si devono a loro le prime denunce sui maltrattamenti subiti dove finiscono i Balcani e comincia la Mitteleuropa.

      «Bisogna portare in tribunale dei casi individuali con l’intento di definire un precedente che sia valido per tutti, per attivare dei cambiamenti normativi che permettano un maggiore rispetto dei diritti fondamentali», osserva Giulia Spagna, direttrice per l’Italia del Danish refugee council, le cui squadre continuano a raccogliere prove di abusi lungo tutta la dorsale balcanica. «Da una parte – aggiunge – si devono offrire soluzioni concrete alle persone che hanno subito soprusi, attraverso supporto legale, oltre che medico e psicologico. Dall’altra usare questi episodi per influenzare le politiche europee e nazionali».

      https://www.avvenire.it/attualita/pagine/a-trieste-tra-chi-cura-le-ferite-reportage-migranti

  • L’Union européenne exhorte la Bosnie à loger plus de 3 300 migrants qui subissent le #froid et la #neige

    L’Union européenne a exhorté mercredi la Bosnie à loger au chaud plus de 3 300 migrants menacés par des températures glaciales, alors que le pays connait une vague de froid. L’UE met en garde les autorités contre une « crise humanitaire ».

    « La crise humanitaire devient une réalité en raison du manque d’action (...). Nous exhortons les autorités à agir d’urgence pour sauver des vies. » Par ces mots, la délégation de l’Union européenne (UE) en Bosnie hausse le ton contre les autorités du pays.

    Dans la région de #Bihac, à la frontière avec la Croatie, où la plupart des migrants sont massés dans l’espoir d’entrer sur le territoire européen, la température descendra à 0°C dans les prochains jours, selon les prévisions météorologiques. Le froid, accompagné de neige, met « sérieusement en danger la vie de plus de 2 000 personnes qui dorment dehors, dans des conditions désastreuses », insiste la délégation dans un communiqué publié mercredi 9 décembre : http://europa.ba/?p=70989

    Ces personnes vivent soit en #forêt, sous des #tentes, soit dans des #abris_de_fortune, des #bâtiments_abandonnés et des #squats.

    « Rien n’a été prévu pour l’hiver »

    Par ailleurs, 1 300 migrants sont logés dans un centre d’accueil à #Lipa, près de Bihac, qui n’a pas été préparé pour les conditions hivernales, selon la même source. Le site n’est équipé ni d’électricité, ni d’eau courante.

    « Le camp de tentes a été construit pour le printemps et l’été en réponse au Covid-19. Rien n’a été prévu pour l’hiver », signalait déjà fin novembre sur Twitter Peter Van der Auweraert, coordinateur de la mission de l’Organisation internationale pour les Migration (OIM) en Bosnie-Herzégovine. « Une solution alternative est nécessaire rapidement », réclamait-il.


    https://twitter.com/PeterAuweraert/status/1329927548264964097

    La délégation, qui affirme que les moyens de l’Union européenne mis à la disposition des autorités locales existent, appelle le gouvernement à loger de nouveau un certain nombre de migrants dans un centre d’accueil de #Bira, non loin de la ville de Bihac.

    Ce centre a été fermé fin septembre par les autorités locales, un mois et demi avant les élections municipales, pour répondre à une pression croissante des habitants. Deux migrants avaient été tués dans des affrontements entre des exilés afghans et pakistanais lors du démantèlement du camp de Bira.

    Une baisse de près de 50% des arrivées cette année

    La construction d’un autre centre d’accueil, envisagé à un moment dans la région de #Tuzla (nord-est), est également nécessaire afin de loger tout le monde, selon la délégation.

    Le ministère bosnien de la sécurité avait indiqué début décembre que plus de 6 600 migrants étaient logés dans plusieurs centres d’accueil, dans la région de Bihac, de Sarajevo et de Mostar (sud).

    Depuis 2018, la Bosnie est traversée chaque année par des milliers de migrants fuyant les guerres et la pauvreté dans leurs pays au Proche-Orient, en Asie et en Afrique. Selon les statistiques du ministère de la sécurité, environ 15 000 migrants ont été enregistrés à leur arrivée dans le pays depuis le début de l’année, soit une baisse de près de 50% par rapport à la même période en 2019.

    https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/29020/l-union-europeenne-exhorte-la-bosnie-a-loger-plus-de-3-300-migrants-qu

    #hypocrisie #UE #EU #Union_européenne #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Balkans #route_des_balkans #Bosnie #logement #hébergement #hiver

    • EU in BiH statement on migration: Authorities need to act with the utmost urgency

      The EU in Bosnia and Herzegovina expresses concern about the migration situation in the country. The humanitarian crisis is becoming a reality because of the lack of action of the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

      The current weather conditions seriously put at risk the lives of over 2,000 persons sleeping outside in dire conditions and of the 1,300 persons located at the temporary Lipa facility, which is unsuitable for winter as the authorities failed to ensure that the necessary conditions are in place.

      This risks further impacting the overall security situation as well as the humanitarian crisis, in times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Solutions exist and the EU is ready to support Bosnia and Herzegovina in the necessary actions.

      As an immediate priority, we urge the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to temporarily relocate the refugees and migrants currently in Lipa to the EU-funded reception centre “Bira” in Bihać, which was unlawfully emptied by the Cantonal authorities on 30 September 2020 and which is ready to host them.

      In addition, the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina should fulfil their commitment to open an additional reception centre in Ciljuge near Tuzla in order to ensure shelter for all persons in need in the coming winter.

      The EU has provided considerable financial and technical support to Bosnia and Herzegovina to better manage migration and asylum and assist citizens in coping with the challenging situation.

      We urge the authorities to act with the utmost urgency to save lives. The EU will continue to stand by all citizens and support the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina in coping with the challenging situation.

      http://europa.ba/?p=70989

  • Monthly Report BVMN August 2020

    The #Border_Violence_Monitoring_Network (#BVMN) published 34 cases of illegal pushbacks during August, documenting the experience of 692 people whose rights were violated at the European Union’s external border. Volunteers in the field recorded a variety of cruel and abusive acts by officers, representing at least ten different national authorities. This report summarises the data and narrative testimony shared by people-on-the-move, highlighting the depth of violence being carried out in the service of European borders.

    As a network comprised of grassroots organisations active in Greece and the Western Balkans, this report was produced via a joint-effort between Are You Syrious, Mobile Info Team, No Name Kitchen, Rigardu, Josoor, InfoKolpa, Escuela con Alma, Centre for Peace Studies, Mare Liberum, Collective Aid and Fresh Response

    The report analyses among other things:

    - Czech presence in North Macedonian pushbacks
    - Unrest in the #Una-Sana Canton of Bosnia-Herzegovina
    - Continued Greek Maritime Pushbacks
    - Analyzing a summer of Italian pushbacks

    Special focus is given to the Greek context where in the Evros region, field partners collected several testimonies in August which referenced third-country-nationals facilitating pushbacks across the Evros/Meric River on behalf of Greek authorities. Three reports conducted by members of the Border Violence Monitoring Network allude to this practice and anecdotal evidence from the field reinforces these accounts.

    –-

    The Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) published 34 cases of illegal pushbacks during August, documenting the experience of 692 people whose rights were violated at the European Union’s external border. Volunteers in the field recorded a variety of cruel and abusive acts by officers, representing at least ten different national authorities. This report summarises the data and narrative testimonies shared by peo-ple-on-the-move, highlighting the depth of violence being carried out in the service of European borders.Special focus is given to the Greek context where testimonies in the Evros allude to the trend of Greek au-thorities using third country nationals to facilitate pushbacks across the Evros/Meric River in the last two months. Reports collected by members of the Border Violence Monitoring Network allude to this practice and anecdotal evidence from the field reinforces these accounts. Further analysis covers the way in which Czech forces have been referenced in testimonies collected from push-backs from North Macedonia to Greece in the last month. Returns from Italy to Bosnia also continue to be legitimized by the Italian state and an analysis of recent reports from these returns is included, as well as an update written by volunteers on the ground in Trieste.In this report, BVMN also discusses several cases of pushbacks across the Aegean sea where the Greek au-thorities continue to use worrying methods to force transit ships back into Turkish waters via life raphs. New developments in both Bosnia’s Una-Sana Canton and Serbia’s #Vojvodina region are also noted, showing the situation on the ground and in the legal realm respectively, as it relates to pushbacks.

    https://www.borderviolence.eu/balkan-region-report-august-2020

    #rapport #push-backs #refoulements #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Italie #Grèce #Mer_Egée #Una #Sana #Bosnie #Bosnie_Herzégovine #Macédoine_du_Nord #frontières #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #Serbie

    ping @karine4 @isskein

    • Policajci iz Virovitice prijavljuju šefa: ‘Ilegalno tjera migrante, tuče se pijan, zataškava obiteljsko nasilje’

      ‘Da bi dobili veću plaću, njegovi miljenici tjeraju migrante iz BiH u Hrvatsku, kako bi ih zatim mogli deportirati’, tvrde naši sugovornici...

      Ovo je naš zapovjednik Andrej Hegediš, kaže jedan od četvorice pripadnika Interventne policije u Policijskoj upravi virovitičko-podravskoj, pokazujući na video-snimku Border Violence Monitoringa, nevladine organizacije koja se zalaže za zaštitu prava migranata. Na tajno snimljenom videu, vide se pripadnici hrvatske policije kako, prema tvrdnjama Border Violence Monitoringa, u šumi kraj Lohova, unutar teritorije Bosne i Hercegove, protjeruju skupinu migranata prema Bihaću.

      Ta snimka prikazana je na više televizija kao jedan od dokaza nehumanog postupanja hrvatske policije prema migrantima, zbog čega su na račun Zagreba stigla i ozbiljna upozorenje iz Bruxellesa. Hrvatski MUP odbacio je takve tvrdnje kao neutemeljene.
      Tvrdnje koje zvuče upravo nevjerojatno

      No, ono što su, vezano uz migrante, Telegramu ispričali pripadnici virovitičke Interventne policije koji su sudjelovali na osiguranju državne granice, zvuči upravo nevjerojatno: “Hrvatska je policija, tvrde naši sugovornici, u nekoliko navrata ulazila na teritorij susjedne BiH da bi odatle potjerala migrante u Hrvatsku, a onda ih deportirala!”

      Zašto bi to radili? Razlog je, kažu virovitički interventni policajci, više nego prozaičan: “boravak na terenu financijski je unosan. Na taj način mjesečno mogu zaraditi nekoliko tisuća kuna više, pa treba dokazati da se na granici nešto radi”, tvrde naši sugovornici. “Tako se migrante prvo iz BiH potjera u Hrvatsku, a zatim natrag. Deportiranje se, naravno, dokumentira video snimkama, kako bi se dokazala nužnost pojačanih policijskih ophodnju iz granicu”, dodaju.
      Iz MUP-a su potvrdili anonimnu predstavku

      Četvorica pripadnika interventne policije s kojima je Telegram razgovarao ovih dana, stoje iza predstavke upućene MUP-u u kojoj iznose brojne optužbe na račun Andreja Hegediša, zapovjednika virovitičke Interventne policije. Iz MUP-a su 3. rujna Telegramu potvrdili da su primili anonimnu predstavku.

      ”Potvrđujemo zaprimanje anonimnih podnesaka te Služba za unutarnju kontrolu u suradnji s policijskim službenicima Ravnateljstva policije i Policijske uprave, sukladno Zakonu o policiji i Pravilniku o načinu rada i postupanja po pritužbama te radu Povjerenstava za rad po pritužbama, provjerava njihovu utemeljenost”, stoji u odgovoru Telegramu.
      Šef policije se napio pa nasrnuo na kolegu

      ”Također vas obavještavamo kako je, nakon provjere navoda iz ranijeg podneska, načelnik Policijske uprave virovitičko-podravske pokrenuo disciplinski postupak pred Odjelom prvostupanjskog disciplinskog sudovanja Službe disciplinskog sudovanja u Osijeku zbog sumnje u počinjene teže povrede službene dužnosti iz čl. 96. stavak 1. točke 7. Zakona o policiji. Navedeni postupak je u tijeku”, napisali su iz MUP-a.

      Kad je riječ o potonjem, radi se o slučaju o kojem je prvi pisao Telegram i koji je do tada javnosti bio nepoznat. Naime, 20. prosinca prošle godine, na božićnom domjenku za čelne ljude Policijske uprave virovitičko-podravske, zapovjednik Interventne jedinice policije, Andrej Hegediš, fizički je nasrnuo na svog kolegu, načelnika Policijske postaje Pitomača, Renata Greguraša. Ali, načelnik virovitičke Policijske uprave, Siniša Knežević, koji je sve to vidio, disciplinski je postupak protiv Hegediša pokrenuo tek tri mjeseca nakon događaja.
      Odlasci u McDonald’s i zubaru u Zagreb

      Dvojica od četvorice Telegramovih sugovornika, bivših i aktivnih pripadnika Interventne policije, kažu da su također bili žrtve Hegediševih nasrtaja i pokušaja fizičkog napada. Neki od njih zbog toga su tražili premještaj. U predstavci koju je Telegram imao prilike vidjeti, navode se i druge pritužbe na njegov rad, a zbog čega je unutarnja kontrola MUP-a prošloga tjedna dva dana provela u Virovitici. No, kako neslužbeno doznajemo, njihov izvještaj ne bi trebao zabrinuti Hegediša. Štoviše, kaže jedan od naših izvora, sada se pokušava istražiti tko su autori anonimne predstavke.

      Jedna od optužbi na koju su se interventni policajci žalili odnosi se, kako tvrde, na zapovjednikovo korištenje službenog automobila u posve privatne svrhe, kao što je odlazak zubaru u Zagreb ili u restoran McDonald’s u Sisak. ”Ako postoji volja, lako je istražiti kako si je zapovjednik Interventne obračunavao prekovremeni rad i u vrijeme kada je već četiri sata bio u Mađarskoj, na privatnom putu prema zračnoj luci u Budimpešti. Treba samo pročešljati popis prekovremenih sati i usporediti to s vremenom kada je napustio granični prijelaz, pa će sve biti jasno. No, bojimo se da u policiji, zbog politike ‘ne talasaj’, za to nitko nema volje”, kažu sugovornici Telegrama iz interventne policije u Virovitici.

      ‘Natjerao me da ostavim ministra i vozim njega’

      Upravo je nevjerojatan podatak kojeg su nam iznijeli, kada je kažu, jedan njihov kolega, morao napustiti osiguranje štićene osobe i uputiti se u Slatinu, gdje zapovjednik Hegediš živi, da bi ga prevezao u bazu, u Viroviticu. Radilo se o osiguranju i obilasku kuće tadašnjeg potpredsjednika Vlade i ministra poljoprivrede, Tomislava Tolušića, kao i nekoliko zgrada u kojima bi znao odsjedati kada dolazi u Viroviticu. Hegediš se na to nije osvrtao, kažu Telegramovi sugovornici, već je policajcu naredio da prekine posao na osiguranju štićene osobe i preveze ga u Viroviticu.

      Detaljno su opisali i navodno samovolju svog zapovjednika Hegediša, zbog čega je nekoliko policajaca zatražilo premještaj. Nabrajaju imena svojih kolega koji su zbog mobinga napustili Interventnu policiju. ”Dok se njegovim poslušnicima i miljenicima sve tolerira, drugima se traži dlaka u jajetu i protiv njih se, i zbog najmanje sitnice, pokreću stegovni postupci”, kažu.
      ‘Miljenici mu pomagali u selidbi, usred radnog vremena’

      Opisuju slučaj, u kojem je nekoliko interventnih policajaca, u radnom vremenu, svom zapovjedniku pomagalo kada je iz jedne kuće selio u drugu. Akciju preseljenja, kažu, vodio je J. J.. No, naročito su ogorčeni na svog kolegu D. S., kojem je Hegediš, kažu, pomogao u zataškavanju obiteljskog nasilja i nedoličnog ponašanja, kada se na području između Kutjeva i Orahovice, u alkoholiziranom stanju, nasilnički ponašao prema supruzi, zaustavio automobil u šumi, ostavio je i otišao.

      Njegova supruga tada je, tvrde, zvala Operativno komunikacijski centar (OKC) u virovitičkoj Policijskoj upravi, prijavila slučaj obiteljskog nasilja, a postupak su proveli policajci iz Orahovice. No, slučaj je zataškan, tvrde sugovornici Telegrama, tako što je Hegediš zatražio da se u tom slučaju ne postupa. Sve, kažu, mogu potvrditi tada dežurni u OKC D. Č. i dežurni u jedinici u Virovitici M. V.. Imena svih osoba čije inicijale navodimo poznata su redakciji.

      ”Našem zapovjedniku unatoč svemu ništa se ne događa i bojimo se da ni dolazak unutarnje kontrole MUP-a neće ništa promijeniti”, kažu sugovornici Telegrama. Zatražili smo i komentar zapovjednika Hegediša, ali nije odgovorio na našu poruku. Kada je Telegram pisao o njegovu fizičkom nasrtaju na načelnika Policijske postaje u Pitomači, također ništa nije htio komentirati. Samo je rekao da kao policijski službenik ne smije javno istupati.

      https://www.telegram.hr/politika-kriminal/policajci-iz-virovitice-prijavljuju-sefa-ilegalno-tjera-migrante-tuce-se-pi

      #Andrej_Hegedis

      –—

      Commentaire reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodosli, mail du 29.09.2020

      Telegram, on the other hand, published the testimony of intervention police officers in Virovitica, who identified their chief #Andrej_Hegediš as one of the police officers on a BVMN video about an illegal expulsion published in December 2018. They also claimed that refugees and other migrants were expelled from BiH to Croatia and back. The Ministry of the Interior confirmed to Telegram that it had received an anonymous complaint, and Virovitica police officers accused Hegediš of other violations of police powers, including violence against police officers.

    • Bosnie-Herzégovine : les migrants pris en #otages du mille-feuille institutionnel

      La complexité du système institutionnel bosnien ne joue pas en faveur des réfugiés. Le 30 septembre dernier, les autorités du canton d’#Una-Sava et celles de la municipalité de #Bihać ont pris la décision unilatérale d’évacuer le #camp de #Bira, à la grande surprise du ministère de la Sécurité intérieure. Depuis, tout le monde se refile la patate chaude : que faire de ces centaines de personnes qui dorment tous les soirs dans les rues ?
      Le ton monte entre les représentants du canton d’Una-Sava et ceux de l’État central de Bosnie-Herzégovine. « Ils vont devoir utiliser les infrastructures qui sont à leur disposition, dans leur intérêt et dans celui des habitants du canton d’Una-Sana », a sèchement expliqué Selmo Cikotić, le ministre de la Sécurité intérieur, qui réagissait aux propos de Mustafa Ružnić, le président du canton d’Una-Sana, et à ceux du maire de Bihać, Šuhret Fazlić. Ces derniers avaient déclaré qu’ils ne permettraient pas le retour des migrants à Bira, le centre d’hébergement de Bihać vidé par les autorités cantonales le 30 septembre dernier. Suite à l’intervention de la police, certains exilés avaient été laissés libres de se diriger vers la frontière croate, d’autres avaient été conduits dans le camp de #Lipa, situé à une trentaine de kilomètres de Bihać, et ceux qui voulaient revenir vers Sarajevo avaient été autorisés à acheter des tickets de bus pour la capitale. Le camp de Lipa étant déjà plein, les migrants avaient ensuite été laissés dans les rues, sans aucun abris.

      Selon Selmo Cikotić, différentes mesures ont été prises pour fermer définitivement les camps de Bira à Bihać et de #Miral à #Velika_Kladuša. Le ministre peine donc à comprendre le refus des élus locaux de ne pas autoriser le retour temporaire des migrants. « Le plan du ministère de la Sécurité intérieure était en accord avec les institutions internationales et les différentes structures bosniennes », assure-t-il. « Nous avions tout organisé en accord avec la présidence, avec les instances internationales, les lois bosniennes, le conseil municipal de Velika Kladuša, les autorités cantonales et les représentants de l’Union européenne (UE). Le volte-face des autorités cantonales est donc pour moi très surprenant. Le camp de Bira devait de toute façon être fermé d’ici trois à quatre semaines, sans porter préjudice aux migrants ni aux habitants du canton. Je ne comprends pas pourquoi le Premier ministre du canton et le maire de Bihać ont précipité les choses. »

      « Cela fait trois ans que la municipalité est abandonnée à son sort », s’emporte Šuhret Fazlić. « C’est terminé, aucun migrant ne reviendra à Bira et nous appliquerons cette décision par tous les moyens à notre disposition. Je ne fais pas comme s’il n’y avait pas de migrants dans notre région, je dis juste qu’il n’y en aura plus à Bira. Nous avons assuré à ces gens un toit dans le camp de Lipa ». Selon le maire de Bihać, ce centre n’est pas encore plein, mais « la crise de l’accueil des migrants a mis à jour absolument tout ce qui ne fonctionne pas au sein de l’État bosnien ».L’évacuation du camp de Bira a en tout cas provoqué de nombreuses réactions. L’ambassade des États-Unis en Bosnie-Herzégovine, l’Organisation Internationale des Migrations (OIM), les Nations-Unies et Amnesty International sont unanimes : le camp de Bira ne peut être laissé vide, tant que des migrants dorment dans les rues. Dans un communiqué daté du 1er octobre, l’UE a jugé « inacceptable » la décision du canton et de la mairie de Bihać de transférer par la force les migrants vers le camp de Lipa. « L’UE a sans cesse répété que Lipa ne pouvait être qu’une solution temporaire, pendant la pandémie de coronavirus, et que ce centre ne remplissait pas les conditions nécessaires à l’accueil de réfugiés et de migrants, en particulier avec l’arrivée de l’hiver. Jamais Lipa n’a été agréé comme un centre d’accueil », précise le communiqué. Selon Šuhret Fazlić, l’UE menace de sanctions pénales la mairie de Bihać et les autorités du canton d’#Una-Sava.

      Un problème financier ?

      Reste que les désaccords persistent entre les autorités locales et le ministère de la Sécurité intérieure, alors que tous sont sous pression pour trouver rapidement une solution. « Il faut aménager le camp de Lipa », souhaite Šuhret Fazlić. « L’électricité vient d’un groupe électrogène, il faudrait 200 000 euros pour que le camp soit raccordé au réseau. L’eau est puisée dans une source, et provient en partie de notre réseau. Il faudrait 140 000 euros pour avoir assez d’eau, les canalisations existent déjà. Avec un peu moins de 350 000, on pourrait donc assurer les approvisionnements en eau et en électricité. Je ne vois pas pourquoi cela ne serait pas faisable. »

      La municipalité a donné cinq hectares de terre pour construire le camp et a pris en charge, avec l’aide du canton, une partie des frais de fonctionnement, ce que l’UE avait demandé. L’argent de l’État bosnien se fait en revanche attendre, car le Conseil des ministres n’a toujours pris aucune décision en ce qui concerne la fermeture du camp de Bira et l’ouverture de celui de Lipa. Deux millions et demi d’euros prévus pour l’accueil des migrants n’ont donc pas pu être débloqués. Selmo Cikotić estime ainsi que le problème n’est pas financier mais politique.

      Reste que pour l’instant, pas un euro n’a été débloqué pour le financement du camp de Lipa. « La présidence avait décidé de verser 2,5 millions d’euros, mais le Conseil des ministres n’a toujours pas pris la décision d’agréer Lipa comme un centre d’accueil, ni celle de fermer Bira. Je ne sais même pas s’il existe un consensus sur ces questions », s’agace le maire de Bihać.

      La société privée Bira, propriétaire du hangar où ont séjourné les migrants, n’a pas répondu aux questions de Radio Slobodna Evropa sur leur éventuel retour. « Nous ne sommes pas en capacité de vous répondre car le président du conseil d’administration n’est actuellement pas en état d’assurer ses obligations professionnelles. Pour toute précision, adressez-vous à l’OIM », a-t-elle répondu. Le principal actionnaire de Bira a également refusé de fournir des précisions sur la durée du contrat de location du hangar.


      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Bosnie-Herzegovine-migrants-otages-mille-feuille-institutionnel-b

      #Bihac #Velika_Kladusa

    • Croatian police accused of ’sickening’ assaults on migrants on Balkans trail

      Testimony from asylum seekers alleging brutal border pushbacks, including sexual abuse, adds to calls for EU to investigate

      People on the Balkans migrant trail have allegedly been whipped, robbed and, in one case, sexually abused by members of the Croatian police.

      The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) has documented a series of brutal pushbacks on the Bosnia-Croatian border involving dozens of asylum seekers between 12 and 16 October.

      The Guardian has obtained photographs and medical reports that support the accounts, described by aid workers as “sickening” and “shocking”.

      “The testimonies collected from victims of pushbacks are horrifying,’’ said Charlotte Slente, DRC secretary general. “More than 75 persons in one week have all independently reported inhumane treatment, savage beatings and even sexual abuse.’’

      According to migrants’ accounts, the pushbacks occurred in Croatian territory over the border from Velika Kladuša in Bosnia, close to Šiljkovača – a tented forest settlement of around 700 refugees and migrants.

      “All of the persons interviewed by DRC bore visible injuries from beatings (bruises and cuts), as a result of alleged Croatian police violence,” reads the DRC report. “According to the statements provided by interviewed victims (with visible evidence of their injuries), pushbacks included brutal and extremely violent behaviour, degrading treatment, and theft and destruction of personal belongings.” One of the testimonies includes a report of serious sexual abuse.

      On 12 October, five Afghans, including two minors, crossed the Croatian border near the #Šturlić settlement. On the same day, near Novo Selo, an uniformed police officer stopped them and then called two more officers. One of the migrants ran, and the other four were detained at a police station. Two days later they were taken to court, where they say they were to “appear as witnesses in the case launched against the fifth member of the group – the one who escaped”, who had been accused of violent behaviour towards police.

      The asylum seekers told the DRC that the original officers then took them “to some unknown location, where they were put in a van in the charge of 10 armed people, dressed in black and with full face balaclavas, army boots and with flashlights on their foreheads”. Their money was taken, their belongings torched and they were ordered to strip to their underwear. The migrants allege that they were forced to lie face down on the ground.

      “One man in black was standing on the victim’s hands, preventing any movements,” reads the report. “Legs were also restrained. Once the person was hampered, the beating started. They were punched, kicked, whipped and beaten.” Medical reports confirm that migrants’ injuries are consistent with the use of a whip.

      One migrant, MK, says at this point he was sexually assaulted by a man using a branch.

      Mustafa Hodžić, a doctor in Velika Kladuša, examined the man. “The patient had wounds all over the back of his body, on his back and legs. I can confirm the signs of clear sexual violence … I have never seen anything like it. Even if it isn’t the first time as a doctor [that] I have seen signs of sexual violence on migrants, which, according the asylum seekers’ accounts, were perpetrated on Croatian territory by Croatian officials dressed in black uniforms.”

      One Pakistani migrant told of being intercepted with two others near Croatia’s Blata railway station. The police allegedly ordered them to strip naked before loading them into a van and taking them to a sort of garage, where five other migrants were waiting to be sent back to Bosnia. Awaiting their arrival were men dressed in black.

      “They started to beat us with batons, and the third one took his mobile phone and took a selfie with us without clothes,” the Pakistani man said. “The first four of us were on the ground, and we lay next to each other, naked and beaten, and the other four were ordered to lie on us, like when trees are stacked, so we lay motionless for 20 minutes. The last one was a minor. He was from the other group; I saw when the police officer ask him where he was from. He tried to say that he is a minor. He was beaten a lot, and when it was his turn to take off his clothes, he was beaten even more.”

      One man added: “A minor from the second group fainted after many blows. His friends took him in their arms, and one of the police officers ordered them to lay him down on the ground. Then they started hitting them with batons. Before the deportation, police told us: ‘We don’t care where you are from or if you will return to Bosnia or to your country, but you will not go to Croatia. Now you have all your arms and legs because we were careful how we hit you. Next time it will be worse’.’’

      Small groups of asylum seekers attempt to cross from Bosnia into Croatia nightly on the migrant trail into western Europe. The EU’s longest internal border, it is patrolled by police armed with truncheons, pistols and night vision goggles. Aid workers, doctors, border guards and UN officials have documented systematic abuse and violence perpetrated along the border stretch for several years.

      Last May, the Guardian documented a case of more than 30 migrants who were allegedly robbed and had their heads spray painted with red crosses by Croatian officers.

      The UNHCR has asked the Croatian government to set up an independent assessment of the border situation.

      The details of the latest pushback are in a report that the DRC has shared with the European commission, which has yet to investigate.

      ‘’The Croatian government and the European commission must act to put a stop to the systematic use of violence,” said Slente. ‘’Treating human beings like this, inflicting severe pain and causing unnecessary suffering, irrespective of their migratory status, cannot and should not be accepted by any European country, or by any EU institution. There is an urgent need to ensure that independent border monitoring mechanisms are in place to prevent these abuses.”

      Croatian police and the ministry of the interior have not responded to requests for comment.

      In June, the Guardian revealed EU officials were accused of an “outrageous cover-up” for withholding evidence of the Croatian government’s failure to supervise border forces. Internal emails showed Brussels officials were fearful of full disclosure of Croatia’s lack of commitment to a monitoring mechanism that EU ministers had agreed to fund.

      In January, a commission official warned a colleague that Croatia’s failure to use money earmarked two years ago for border police “will for sure be seen as a scandal”.

      The recent accusations come as the commission presented its final report on the grant, in which Croatia asserted that the co-financing project had “helped make the implementation of activities of border surveillance more conscientious and of higher quality, with emphasis on the respect of migrants’ rights guaranteed under international, European and national legislation”.

      Regarding allegations of abuse, Croatian authorities stated: “Every single [piece of] information and every single complaint was inspected in the process called internal control. We did not establish that the police officers committed any criminal or disciplinary offence in any of the cases.”

      Clare Daly, an Irish MEP, is among those who have raised concerns in Brussels. “The blood of these people, so horrifically mistreated on the Croatian border, is on the hands of the European commission. They have enabled this violation of fundamental rights by ignoring the facts presented to them by NGOs and MEPs that all was not well. They turned a blind eye time and again, and now these horrible events have occurred again, even worse than before.”

      She added: “The last time such behaviour occurred, the commission rewarded Croatia with an extra grant even bigger than the first one, and said they were happy with how the funds had been spent … when is someone going to be held accountable for these crimes against humanity?”

      https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/oct/21/croatian-police-accused-of-sickening-assaults-on-migrants-on-balkans-tr

      –----

      See the report of Border Violence Monitoring Network (October 21) with photos and videos:
      Croatian authorities leading choreographed violence near #Cetingrad

      In the last fourteen days, BVMN-member No Name Kitchen have collected testimonies alluding to a spike in pushback violence in the Cetingrad area of the Croatian border with Bosnia-Herzegovina. The veracity of these testimonies is further supplemented with reports from local people and media outlets. The characteristics of this trend in violence have been complex and coordinated assaults by Croatian police, consisting of repetitive baton strikes, lashing and kicking. These tactics leave an indelible mark on returned transit groups, visible in the extensive bruising and lacerations across the legs, torso and upper body of people subject to such violence. First hand testimony of recent pushbacks are examined here, alongside pictures and videos from the HR/BiH border which reveal the deterioration in border violence seen in the last fortnight.


      https://www.borderviolence.eu/15983-2

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6JnnUfpulA&feature=emb_logo

      #Novo_Selo #Sturlic

  • 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

  • Réfugiés : #violences et #chaos dans le nord-ouest de la Bosnie-Herzégovine
    Traduit et adapté par Manon Rumiz (Article original : https://www.balcanicaucaso.org/aree/Bosnia-Erzegovina/Migranti-caos-Bosnia-204594)

    Squats démantelés, familles déportées et laissées sans aide au bord de la route, violentes manifestations anti-migrants.... Dans le canton d’Una-Sana (nord-ouest de la Bosnie-Herzégovine), la situation des réfugiés devient toujours plus dramatique.

    « C’est le chaos. » Voilà comment Silvia Maraone, qui coordonne les activités de l’ONG italienne Ipsia (https://www.facebook.com/IPSIA.BIH) à #Bihać, résume la situation actuelle dans le canton d’#Una_Sana, explosive depuis le milieu de l’été. « Les conditions imposées par le gouvernement local n’offrent plus de répit à personne. Même les familles, les femmes et les enfants n’ont plus accès aux #camps officiels. Quant aux transports en commun, ils sont désormais interdits aux réfugiés, ce qui permet aux trafiquants de faire des affaires encore plus lucratives. »

    Dans le même temps, la police expulse les #squats et tous les #camps_informels, renvoyant les réfugiés hors des frontières du canton. La population locale, de son côté, manifeste ouvertement son hostilité face à la présence massive de candidats à l’exil. Les agressions verbales et physiques se multiplient, ainsi que les attaques contre les volontaires.

    “Le canton d’Una Sana est plus que jamais le #cul-de-sac de la route des Balkans.”

    Du fait de la #pandémie et de la proclamation de l’#état_d’urgence, la situation s’est encore détériorée depuis le printemps. Les camps officiels, déjà pleins, n’accueillent plus de nouveaux entrants alors mêmes que les arrivées ont repris depuis la réouverture des frontières au mois de juin. Le canton d’Una Sana est plus que jamais le cul-de-sac de la route des Balkans, d’autant qu’à l’ouest, le jeu de domino entre les polices italienne, slovène et croate se poursuit, aboutissant au #refoulement des migrants interceptés dans cette zone frontalière de l’Union européenne.

    La seule réponse apportée par les autorités locales a été l’ouverture, en avril, d’un « #camp_d’urgence » à Lipa, entre Bihać et #Bosanski_Petrovac, dont le millier places a vite été rempli. Les squats se sont donc multipliés dans les #friches_industrielles et dans les bois. De toute façon, les migrants ne souhaitent pas rester ici et le « #game » continue : chaque jour, ils sont des centaines à tenter de déjouer la surveillance de la frontière croate avec l’espoir de ne pas être arrêté avant d’avoir atteint l’Italie.

    Le début du « chaos » qu’évoque Silvia Maraone remonte à la mi-juillet, avec l’expulsion du camp de fortune qui s’était créé à l’entrée de #Velika_Kladuša, près du camp officiel de #Miral, le long de la rivière #Kladušnica. Officiellement, l’opération a été déclenchée à cause des plaintes répétées des riverains. Début août, la police est revenue pour chasser les migrants qui avaient reconstitué un nouveau camp.

    « #Milices_citoyennes »

    Quelques jours plus tard, le maire de Bihać, #Šuhret_Fazlić, déclarait que la situation était aussi devenue insoutenable dans sa commune. « Cela n’a jamais été pire qu’aujourd’hui. Chaque jour, nous assistons à l’arrivée d’un flux incontrôlé de migrants. Il y en a déjà des milliers qui campent un peu partout. Une fois de plus, on nous laisse seuls », avant de conclure, menaçant : « Nous sommes prêts à prendre des mesures radicales ». Ce n’est pas la première fois que le maire de Bihać tire la sonnette d’alarme. Début 2018, au tout début de la crise, l’édile déplorait déjà le manque de soutien des autorités de la Fédération, l’entité croato-bosniaque dont dépend le canton, et nationales. À l’automne 2019, Silvia Maraone s’inquiétait aussi : « La situation ne fera qu’empirer dans les mois qui viennent si de nouveaux camps officiels ne sont pas ouverts d’urgence ».

    Selon les chiffres officiels, plus de 80% des réfugiés présents sur le sol bosnien se concentreraient dans le seul canton d’Una Sana. « Il sont plus de 5000, dont à peine la moitié hébergés dans des centres d’accueil officiels. Les autres dorment dans des bâtiments détruits ou dans les bois en attendant de tenter le game », poursuit Silvia Maraone. Ces dernières semaines, la population de Velika Kladuša a organisé des manifestations hebdomadaires contre la présence de migrants. Organisées sur les réseaux sociaux, ces rassemblements réunissent des habitants venus de tout le canton.

    Pire, des #milices citoyennes ont commencé à se mettre en place pour refouler les migrants. « Dans certains groupes Facebook, des membres signalent les plaques des véhicules qui transportent des migrants », observe Silvia Maraone. « Des routes ont même été bloquées, des pierres et des bâtons jetés sur les véhicules. » Ce n’est pas tout. « Des citoyens ont attaqué des migrants en pleine rue, tandis que les volontaires leur venant en aide se sont faits dénoncer à la police. » Le 17 août, les forces de l’ordre ont dû intervenir à Velika Kladuša où des dizaines de riverains s’étaient massés et avaient attaqué un bus où se trouvaient des migrants.

    Pour justifier de telles actions coup de poing, on trouve la rhétorique habituelle de l’extrême-droite complotiste : la prétendue violence de ces migrants et la menace qu’ils feraient peser pour la sécurité de la population locale. Des arguments balayés par les statistiques officielles, mais qui font mouche auprès de Bosniens fatigués par des décennies de divisions, de corruption et de misère.

    Deux jours après la violente manifestation du 17 août à Velika Kladuša, la cellule de crise du canton d’Una-Sana a décrété des mesures très dures : l’évacuation de tous les migrants vivant hors des structures d’accueil officielles, perquisition dans tous les lieux privés offrants des services aux migrants, interdiction de quitter les camps officiels, d’utiliser les transports en commun et d’entrer dans le canton pour tous les migrants. Des postes de contrôle ont aussi été mis en place sur les routes d’accès au canton.

    “Ils ont tout brûlé, vêtements, téléphones portables, sacs à dos. Ils nous ont frappés avec des matraques.”

    « Les personnes expulsées des squats n’ont pas toutes pu être accueillies au camp de #Lipa et ont été refoulées en #Republika_Srpska (l’autre entité de Bosnie-Herzégovine) », dénonce Silvia Maraone. « Même les familles avec enfants sont abandonnées sans aucune aide. » Ces restrictions à la #liberté_de_mouvement violent les #droits_humains fondamentaux, comme l’a dénoncé Amnesty International dans un communiqué, le 25 août. Le réseau Transbalkanska Solidarnost (https://transbalkanskasolidarnost.home.blog) demande aux autorités locales et aux organisations internationales de « mettre fin à la politique du silence », de condamner publiquement ces pratiques illégales, de poursuivre les responsables et d’assurer un accueil digne et sûr aux migrants.

    Transbalkanska Solidarnost a recueilli plusieurs #témoignages sur ces expulsions, dont celles de l’ONG No Name Kitchen à Bosanska Otoka. « Nous dormions dans une ancienne usine abandonnée près de Bihać quand la police est arrivée. Il devait y avoir 20 ou 25 policiers. Ils ont tout brûlé, vêtements, téléphones portables, sacs à dos. Ils nous ont frappés avec des matraques, puis nous ont expulsés ici où nous sommes sans nourriture, sans rien. Je me suis échappé d’Afghanistan pour me sauver et là je retrouve cette violence... Pourquoi ?! », se désole A., 16 ans. Selon les chiffres des associations, plus de 500 réfugiés se sont retrouvés bloqués sur la ligne de démarcation entre les deux entités bosniennes, personne ne voulant les prendre en charge.

    Malgré les menaces qui se font toujours plus fortes, les réseaux de #volontaires continuent de venir en aide aux migrants : distribution de produits de première nécessité, de vêtements et signalement des violences et des violations des droits. « Ce n’est pas facile », reconnaît Silvia Maraone. « Tout le monde vous regarde mal et ceux que vous aidez sont détestés… Nous restons prudents. » Son ONG, Ipsia ; intervient toujours dans le camp de Bira, géré par l’#Organisation_internationale_pour_les_migrations (#OIM) où elle gère le Café social et prépare un projet plus vaste, soutenu par des fonds européens, pour développer des activités, hors des camps, visant à améliorer les relations entre migrants et population locale. Il y a urgence. « Jamais le bras-de-fer avec le reste de la Bosnie n’a été aussi tendu. »

    https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/refugies-chaos-dans-le-nord-ouest-de-la-bosnie-herzegovine

    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Bosnie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #camps_de_réfugiés #campements #IOM #extrême_droite #solidarité

    –-> « Quant aux transports en commun, ils sont désormais interdits aux réfugiés, ce qui permet aux trafiquants de faire des affaires encore plus lucratives »
    #ségrégation #transports_publics #transports_en_commun #apartheid

    –-> « l’#Organisation_internationale_pour_les_migrations (#OIM) gère le Café social et prépare un projet plus vaste, soutenu par des fonds européens, pour développer des activités, hors des camps, visant à améliorer les relations entre migrants et population locale. Il y a urgence. »
    En fait, ce qu’il faudrait faire c’est ouvrir les frontières et laisser ces personnes bloquées en Bosnie, où elles n’ont aucune intention de rester, de partir...

    ping @karine4 @isskein

  • [Google Translate]

    Fazlić: If the stampede of migrants goes to Bihać, there will be more Vučjak

    The mayor of Bihać, Šuhret Fazlić, warned the authorities that, if a stampede of migrants enters this city, which no one will take care of, he will open five more Vučjak camps.

    Fazlic emphasized the importance of the presence of the EU Delegation, the European Commission and international organizations, without which, as he said, the situation would be chaotic.

    – We should all be professional and quickly continue the successful cooperation so far. Also, I must warn all actors in the process that I will not hesitate to open new Vučjak if Bihać is again exposed to the unbearable pressure of migrants and left to it - said Fazlić.

    The Prime Minister of Una-Sana Canton Mustafa Ružnić, mayors and mayors of Una-Sana Canton emphasized at today’s meeting the importance and success of the current cooperation with the European Commission and international organizations, but also reiterated that the interest of the citizens of that canton is always in the first place. uncompromisingly insists on closing the reception centers “Bira” and “Miral”.

    – We will be maximally professional in further actions, however, it must be clear to everyone that the Una-Sana Canton will not be a yard for solving the problem of migration in this part of Europe. We will not deal with any correspondence, but we will, in accordance with the constitutional powers, take care of the interests and security of our citizens - Ružnić pointed out.

    He mentioned that the closure of “Bira” and “Mirala” was ordered at a joint meeting in Brussels, where it was emphasized that the reception centers must not be in private facilities.

    It is clearly defined how the process of final closure of “Bire” will take place in two phases and that it has actually already begun.

    The Minister of Internal Affairs of the Una-Sana Canton, Nermin Kljajić, pointed out that in the past period, they blocked this reception center by reducing the number of service users from 2,100 people to the current 650 migrants.

    – In the first phase of the further process, we are relocating minors, after which we will transfer about 400 people to a reception camp at the Lipa site. I hope that we will finish everything very soon, and with professional action and with the support of international organizations, finally close the unconditional and undesirable camp in the center of Bihać - said Kljajić.

    The political representatives of the Una-Sana Canton are persistent in the request for the relocation of unaccompanied minors to reception centers outside that canton, federal media report.

    Cantonal Minister of Health Nermina Ćemalović stated that they are already in communication with the authorities for the reception centers Duje and Salakovac, where they want to relocate 150 minors who do not have adequate living conditions in the centers in the Una-Sana Canton.

    – In “Bira” and “Miral”, we currently have 23 children under the age of 15, which is inadmissible. Someone should really think about this big problem, which of course was left to us again in the canton - said Ćemalović.

    The importance of joint action in this situation was emphasized at the meeting, but also the belief that this time there will be support and cooperation between the Ministry of Security in the Council of Ministers and the line minister Fahrudin Radončić.

    https://lat.rtrs.tv/vijesti/vijest.php?id=385146

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Camp #Una-Sanacanton #Bihac

  • [Google Translate]

    Problems with migrants in the reception camp “Lipa”

    According to the order of the Council of Ministers, the police of Una-Sana Canton have been moving migrants from the streets of Bihać to the newly opened reception camp “Lipa” for the third week. The problem is that “Lipa” is an open camp, so every day a third of migrants return to the city.

    Most of the approximately 5,000 migrants residing in Una-Sana Canton have tried to cross the border at least twice. That is exactly why the newly opened camp Lipa does not suit them, because it is about forty kilometers away from the border.

    NAZIF SHEHERZAD, Afghanistan

    We do not want to live in Lipa or Bihać, we want to go outside Bosnia. We have no reason to stay here because it is very bad and that creates additional problems for us.

    MUSTAFA, Pakistan

    In the morning I sleep and the police come, pick me up and take me to a new camp. I don’t want to be there and I’m back, because I want to go to Italy via Croatia.

    Migrants are still being relocated from abandoned factories and from the streets of Bihac, claims Cantonal Interior Minister Nermin Kljajic, and points out that about 150 are being relocated daily, because detailed health tests are being done, however, many of them are returning to Bihac from the camp.

    NERMIN KLJAJIĆ, Minister of the Interior of the USC

    During the night they try to return to Bihać, in that percentage 30-40% of migrants are continuously returned to the location of Lipa, they have not yet accepted that location and we are aware of the situation that they are far better here in Bihać in terms of their comfort.

    There are currently about 5,000 migrants in Una-Sana Canton, 3,000 are housed in camps while others find a roof over their heads in private accommodation, old buildings and on the street. Considering the migrant crisis and the epidemiological situation in this canton, it is positive that all migrants who have been tested for coronavirus so far are negative, and if that changes, they will be treated like all other citizens.

    https://bhrt.ba/1146661/problemi-sa-migrantima-u-prihvatnom-kampu-lipa

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Camp #Lipa #Una-Sanacanton #Bihac

  • [Via Transbalkanska Solidarnost] 

    We would like to draw your attention that the new tent camp has been opened in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the North-East of Country, Una-Sana Canton, 22 km from Bihac.

    After EU insisted, at the end of 2019, on closing Jungle camp Vucjak due to inhumane conditions, this time around it was EU that sponsored the opening of the camp that people who are forced to live in the camp refer to it as Jungle Camp (same as Vucjak). The camp is run by the IOM and DRC. Both claim that it is used as an emergency shelter during Covid-19 pandemic, while the local authorities consider it as a camp where most of the people will be sent to.

    From the reports collected by the volunteers, people are collected from the streets of Bihac and forcefully taken to the camp. The camp is 22 km from Bihac, without any infrastructure, in the inhabited part of Una-Sana Canton. People brought to the camp against their will keep running away as conditions are appalling. The only difference, they say, is that there are the Internet and three meals per day (which are of low nutrition quality). Again no sewerage or running water.

    The information we receive is that when people leave the camp they are intercepted by BiH police. Using the same methods as the Croatian border police, BiH police sizes whatever little people have, and sometimes they burn their staff in the front of them, the same methods used by the Croatian border police.

    So to sum up, in Bosnia again (just a few months after the closure of Vucjak) we have tent camp and humanitarian catastrophe with increased police repression, this time directly sponsored by EU.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/144469886266984/?multi_permalinks=568659870514648&notif_id=1590478626498769&notif_t=group_

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Camp #Bihac

  • Danas prijem prvih migranata u novi kamp Lipa

    Iako je Gradsko vijeće #Bihać prihvatilo Lipu kao novu lokaciju za smještaj migranata još u studenom prošle godine, vlasti u Bosni i Hercegovini su svoju suglasnost dale tek nakon proglašenja pandemije koronavirusa u BiH, kako bi se sa ulica krajiških gradova izmjestilo nekoliko tisuća migranata.

    Iako je prvo izmještanje migranata najavljeno još u ožujku, ipak do toga nije došlo. Prema zvaničnim najavama, danas se očekuje prijem prvih migranata u novi kamp Lipa, tako da se intenzivno radi na osposobljavanju kampa. Na ovoj lokaciji je postavljeno 50 šatora u koje bi trebalo biti smješteno 1000 migranata.

    ŠUHRET FAZLIĆ, gradonačelnik Bihaća

    “Odvija se projekat koji je sigurno na prostoru Balkana možda najveći građevinski poduhvat. Ko nije bio gore ne može znati šta se dešava. Gore je milionska investicij. Prije 15 dana gore je bila samo livada, sada gore se stvaraju kapaciteti za smještaj skoro 1000 migranata”, rekao je Fazlić.

    S obzirom na to da vlasti ne žele da se ponovi slika sa Vučjaka, otvaranje kampa Lipa kasni. Riješeno je pitanje struje, vode i odvodnje, još se čeka zeleno svjetlo od zdravstvenog sektora.

    Iz kantonalnog Zavoda za javno zdravstvo ističu da svaki dan dobijaju izvještaje od DRC-a i IOM-a o zdravstvenom stanju migranata koji se nalaze u prihvatnim centrima. Na ulazu u Lipu će se raditi trijaža migranata, a bit će osposobljen i karantin.

    Epidemiolog ZARINA MULABDIĆ, direktorica Zavoda za javno zdravstvo

    “Zadovoljni smo sa onim zatečenim gore. Samo treba da se još to do kraja provede, nešto u vezi infrastrukture što se treba nadopuniti. To će biti jedno sjajno rješenje, ni nalik na Vučjak, na koji sam ja dala negativno mišljenje kao epidemiolog”, kazala je Mulabdić.

    Lipa je prvenstveno namijenjena za prihvat migranata koji se nalaze na ulicama Bihaća i nemaju osnovne uvjete za život dostojan čovjeka.

    MUSTAFA RUŽNIĆ, premijer USK

    “Kapacitet je za sada 1000 migranata. Vidjet ćemo kako će se razvijati situacija. Vidjeli ste, to je jedan mali grad po svim standardima”, istakao je Ružnić.

    Еpidemiolog ZARINA MULABDIĆ, direktorica Zavoda za javno zdravstvo

    Cilj nam je da ovo što nam je na ulici stavimo na Lipu tako da imamo nadzor, dodala je Mulabdić.

    Iz Ministarstva unutrašnjih poslova Unsko-sanskog kantona kažu da su spremni za izmještanje migranata, kako onih s ulica Bihaća, tako i onih koji privremeni krov nad glavom nalaze u napuštenim objektima.

    NERMIN KLjAJIĆ, ministar unutrašnjih poslova USK

    “Na taj način ćemo ispoštovati odluku Vijeća ministara o apsolutnoj zabrani kretanja. Smatram da se nekih 400 do 500 migranata u ovoj sedmici može premjestiti gore na tu lokaciju, objasnio je Kljajić.

    Građani Bihaća su u samoizolaciji dok migranti čekajući svoje premještanje slobodno šetaju gradskim ulicama. Bez osnovnih higijenskih i zdravstvenih uvjeta, otvorena su prijetnja za širene pandemije koronavirusa.

    https://bhrt.ba/1134278/danas-prijem-prvih-migranata-u-novi-kamp-lipa

    #Bosnie #asile #migrations #réfugiés #camps #route_des_Balkans #Balkans

    –---

    Commentaire via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodosli, mail du 29.04.2020:

    Most of the funds used to finance the construction were awarded by the EU, while the camp will be run by the #IOM and the #DRC. The camp is situated 22km from the city of Bihać, without a connecting road, which would mean it is, in essence, isolated peripheral accommodation. In addition, there is no wastewater infrastructure, which in time will certainly begin to create certain problems for people living there.

    For a long while, BH has not been a good place for refugees and other migrants – as confirmed by this week’s news about the protest in #Bira (https://www.facebook.com/groups/144469886266984/permalink/548667525847216) and the letter signed by 70 persons from #Miral (https://www.facebook.com/transbalkanskasolidarnost/photos/a.121803256103331/130375228579467/?type=3&theater). These are reactions of people on the move to the hardships they have to suffer every day, and which are becoming unbearable. Meanwhile, police violence on the borders is not ceasing, continuing with equal levels of brutality and injustice (reprezent.ba/video-zivot-na-divlje-u-divljim-kampovima-velike-kladuse).

    #Danish_Refugee_Council #OIM #violences_policières #violence #isolement #périphérie #hébergement

    • Un camp de 1 000 lits pour les migrants sans abri a ouvert en Bosnie-Herzégovine, avec le soutien de l’OIM. La nouvelle installation, située dans la ville de #Bihac, au nord du pays, restera ouverte pendant toute la durée de la pandémie de COVID-19.

      Lorsque le virus a fait son apparition dans le pays, le nombre de migrants n’ayant pas accès aux centres d’hébergement officiels était estimé à 2 500. La plupart d’entre eux occupaient des bâtiments abandonnés, sans aucune aide humanitaire, ni soins médicaux adéquats, pourtant vitaux en cette période de pandémie.

      En réponse à une demande urgente des autorités, l’OIM est intervenue afin de réduire le risque pour les migrants et les communautés locales.

      La première étape a consisté à augmenter la capacité d’un centre existant de 1 000 lits à #Sarajevo, la capitale, pour la porter à 2 400. Le nouveau camp à Bihac, qui a ouvert la semaine dernière, fournira - comme celui de Sarajevo - une aide humanitaire de base, comprenant un hébergement, de la nourriture, des mesures d’hygiène, des installations sanitaires et des soins médicaux.

      Les migrants ont également accès au Wifi gratuit. Le site est géré conjointement par l’OIM et le Conseil danois pour les réfugiés, son partenaire pour l’assistance médicale.

      Depuis janvier 2018, la Bosnie-Herzégovine est devenue une voie d’accès essentielle pour les migrants qui souhaitent rejoindre d’autres pays de l’Union européenne depuis la Grèce. Entre janvier 2018 et aujourd’hui, près de 60 000 migrants sont arrivés et l’on estime aujourd’hui à 8 000 le nombre de personnes toujours bloquées dans le pays, leurs déplacements étant fortement réduits en raison des mesures prises pour prévenir la propagation du virus COVID-19.

      Le nouveau camp n’accueillera que des hommes célibataires, qui sont relocalisés par la police locale. À leur arrivée, ils recevront un kit d’hygiène et subiront un premier examen de dépistage de la COVID-19. Le site comporte des zones d’isolement dédiées où les nouveaux arrivants resteront pendant 14 jours, ainsi que des espaces de quarantaine où ceux qui présentent des symptômes du COVID-19 bénéficieront d’une surveillance médicale.

      Peter Van der Auweraert, chef de mission de l’OIM, a observé que l’ouverture rapide du site « montre ce qui peut être réalisé lorsque les autorités locales, les donateurs et les organisations internationales travaillent main dans la main. C’est une étape cruciale vers l’inclusion des migrants dans la réponse à la COVID-19 en leur assurant l’accès à un dépistage et à des soins médicaux appropriés, en plus de l’aide humanitaire. »

      Le site d’urgence a été construit de zéro avec le soutien financier de l’Union européenne et de l’USAID.

      #OIM #IOM #Bosnie #coronavirus #SDF #sans-abri #sans-abrisme

  • Migranti lungo la Rotta, quarantena permanente versione testuale

    A partire da marzo, mano a mano che il coronavirus dilagava per l’Europa, alcuni stati disposti lungo la dorsale balcanica hanno messo in atto provvedimenti che hanno interessato non solamente la popolazione locale, ma anche e soprattutto la popolazione migrante che vive all’interno dei centri di transito e per richiedenti asilo, allestiti e istituiti lungo la cosiddetta Rotta balcanica a partire dal 2016.
    Dopo il 2015, anno della “crisi dei rifugiati”, che ha visto arrivare in Unione europea quasi un milione di persone (di cui oltre 850 mila transitate dalla Grecia), a partire da marzo 2016 la Rotta balcanica è stata dichiarata ufficialmente chiusa, in base al controverso accordo turco-europeo, che prevede fondamentalmente che la Turchia – in cambio di 6 miliardi di euro versati dall’Ue e di un’accelerazione nelle trattative legate all’ingresso in Europa – gestisca i quasi 4 milioni di richiedenti asilo che si trovano nel suo territorio.
    Di fatto, però, quell’accordo (in realtà una dichiarazione congiunta tra le parti coinvolte) non ha fermato il flusso di persone on the move, ma lo ha solamente rallentato e reso più pericoloso; si calcola, in effetti, che tra il 2016 e il 2019 siano comunque passate circa 160 mila persone lungo questo corridoio migratorio.

    Confini incandescenti
    I paesi maggiormente interessati dalla presenza dei migranti in transito sono Grecia, Serbia e – a partire dal 2018 – Bosnia Erzegovina, diventata nella zona nord-occidentale il collo di bottiglia prima di entrare in Croazia e da lì nei Paesi Shengen, la meta cui maggiormente aspirano le persone, che provengono principalmente da Afghanistan, Pakistan, Siria, Iran e Iraq.
    Poco prima che la pandemia prendesse piede a livello globale, a partire da fine febbraio, la Rotta balcanica era tornata sui principali giornali e siti di notizie, perchè il presidente turco Recep Tayyp Erdo?an aveva annunciato di aver aperto i confini del paese ai migranti intenzionati a raggiungere l’Europa. Quella che sino a poco tempo prima sembrava solo una minaccia si è fatta realtà; nel giro di pochi giorni almeno 10 mila persone hanno raggiunto il confine terrestre tra Turchia e Grecia e hanno provato a sfondare i cordoni di sicurezza greci, trovando una risposta violenta, anche con il sostegno delle polizie e dei militari di altri governi europei.
    La situazione incandescente sul confine, che faceva immaginare uno scenario simile a quello del 2015, con migliaia di persone in transito lungo la rotta, si è però interrotta bruscamente con l’arrivo del virus e le misure di chiusura, limitazione di movimento e autoisolamento messe in atto in pratica da quasi tutti gli stati del mondo.
    Gli stati posti lungo la Rotta balcanica hanno non solo imposto misure restrittive alla popolazione locale, ma hanno chiuso la popolazione migrante all’interno dei campi, dispiegando forze speciali a controllarne i perimetri: nessuna nuova persona entra e nessuno esce, in una quarantena permanente.

    Prendono la strada dei boschi
    In Grecia si calcola una presenza di oltre 118 mila tra rifugiati e richiedenti asilo; circa 20 mila abitano nei 30 campi dislocati sul continente, molti vivono in appartamenti o shelter e oltre 38 mila sono bloccati nei campi ufficiali e informali sulle isole di Lesvos, Chios, Samos e Kos.
    In Serbia sono oltre 8.500 i richiedenti asilo e i migranti distribuiti nei 17 centri in gestione governativa all’interno del paese. Durante il mese di marzo polizia ed esercito locali hanno portato le persone che vivevano negli squat delle periferie di Belgrado e di Šid all’interno dei campi, che sono ora sovraffollati.
    Infine si calcola che in Bosnia Erzegovina ci siano circa 5.500 persone alloggiate in 9 campi per l’accoglienza, ma che almeno 2 mila vivano dormendo in edifici e fabbriche abbandonati o in tende e accampamenti di fortuna nei boschi lungo i confini con la Croazia. L’ampia presenza di persone che vivono fuori dai campi ufficiali ha fatto sì che il 17 aprile il consiglio dei ministri della Bosnia Erzegovina decidesse che ogni straniero che non ha un documento di identità valido e un indirizzo di residenza registrato presso l’ufficio stranieri del comune di competenza, verrà obbligatoriamente portato nei centri di ricezione, dove dovrà risiedere senza possibilità di uscire.
    Per questo motivo già dalle settimane precedenti, in località Lipa, cantone di Una Sana, territorio di Bihac, sono stati avviati di gran lena i lavori per mettere in piedi un nuovo centro temporaneo di transito. Il campo, costituito da ampi tendoni in cerata con letti a castello, container sanitari e toilette chimiche, è stato fortumente voluto dalla municipalità di Bihac per spostare dalle strade e da edifici diroccati le migliaia di persone che vagano tra le rovine senza cibo, acqua corrente, elettricità e vestiti. A partire dalla mattina del 21 aprile sono iniziati in maniera pacifica i trasporti dei migranti, scortati dalla polizia locale, al nuove centro in gestione all’Organizzazione mondiale dei migranti e al Danish Refugee Council. Al tempo stesso, decine di persone che non vogliono vivere nei centri e rimanere bloccate in quarantena a tempo indeterminato, hanno deciso di prendere la strada dei boschi e tentare di andare verso la Croazia o rimanere tra le foreste, in attesa che si allentino nei paesi europei le misure anti-Covid.
    Le preoccupazioni nutrite dalle diverse organizzazioni non governative e associazioni in tutti i contesti citati sono le medesime: i campi sono sovraffolati e non permettono di prevenire la diffusione del contagio, in molti centri i servizi igienici e i presidi sanitari sono insufficienti, in alcune realtà l’acqua non è potabile e fondamentalmente è impossibile mantenere le distanze. Le persone passano le giornate chiuse dentro strutture nella maggior parte dei casi fatiscenti, costrette a lunghe file per ricevere i pasti e sotto il controllo o della polizia e dell’esercito (come in Serbia e Grecia), che impediscono i tentativi di fuga dai campi, o delle imprese di sorveglianza private nei campi in Bosnia (campi gestiti da Iom, a differenza di Serbia e Grecia, dove sono in gestione governativa).
    Naturalmente, se già per la popolazione locale è difficile trovare mascherine usa e getta e guanti, per i migranti nei campi è pressochè impossibile, al punto che sia in Grecia che in Serbia, in alcuni dei centri i migranti hanno cominciato a cucire mascherine in stoffa, per la popolazione dei campi ma anche per la popolazione locale, supportati da alcune organizzazioni.
    In tutti i campi le organizzazioni che non si occupano di servizi primari, ma per esempio di interventi psico-sociali come Caritas, hanno dovuto sospendere o modificare le loro attività e instaurare una modalità di lavoro degli staff a rotazione, per preservare i propri operatori.

    Distanziamento impossibile
    Nonostante in Serbia e in Bosnia Erzegovina non siano stati ufficialmente accertati casi di persone positive al Covid19 tra i migranti nei centri, la stessa cosa non si può dire della Grecia, dove sono scoppiati almeno tre focolai, il primo a Ritsona, una ex base militare a 70 chilometri da Atene, che ospita oltre 3 mila persone, il secondo nel campo di Malakasa, dove è stato trovato un caso positivo tra gli oltre 1.600 residenti, il terzo nel sud della Grecia, a Kranidi, dove 150 su 497 persone di un ostello che ospita famiglie monogenitoriali sono risultate positive al test. In tutti i casi i campi sono stati posti in totale isolamento e quarantena per 14 giorni, e le persone non sono autorizzate a uscire dai loro container, stanze o tende. Per evitare che il fenomeno esploda soprattutto nei contesti come le isole, dove i campi sono sovraffolati e le condizioni di vita più miserevoli, il governo greco ha previsto lo spostamento di almeno 2.300 persone considerate più vulnerabili al virus sulla terraferma, in appartamenti, hotel e altri campi.
    In generale le reazioni dei migranti alle misure che sono state messe in atto sono state simili in tutti i luoghi. In primis vi è la sincera preoccupazione di ammalarsi nei campi; le persone sono consapevoli che igiene e misure di distanziamento sociale sono impossibili da tenere. Per fare un esempio, il Bira, un campo in Bosnia Erzegovina per uomini single e minori non accompagnati, che ha una capacità ufficiale di 1.500 persone, ne ospita più di 1.800 e nei container abitativi vivono non 6 persone, ma almeno il doppio. In luoghi così è impossibile fisicamente mettere in atto tutte le procedure necessarie a evitare il contagio.
    Altro punto che risulta particolarmente frustrante, soprattutto nei campi in Serbia e in Bosnia Erzegovina, è l’impossibilità di uscire fisicamente dai centri. Questo significa non poter esercitare nessuna libertà di movimento, non poter andare a comprare beni e cibo, magari non necessari per la sopravvivenza, ma di aiuto per resistere psicologicamente. Significa non poter andare a ritirare i soldi che i parenti mandano tramite Western Union e Money gram e ovviamente significa non poter tentare il game, il “gioco” di recarsi a piedi, da soli o guidati dai trafficanti, verso i confini, per cercare di valicarli.

    Gli interventi Caritas e Ipsia
    La frustrazione di rimanere bloccati a tempo indeterminato è molto alta; in molti dei campi sono scoppiate risse a volte anche molto violente, tra gli stessi migranti ma anche con le forze di polizia e di sicurezza preposte al controllo dei centri. Questi episodi, in Bosnia Erzegovina, sono avvenuti tra i minori non accompagnati del campo Bira, al Miral di Velika Kladuša, a Blažuj vicino a Sarajevo. Stesse dinamiche, con conseguente intervento pesante della security, a Krnja?a, Preševo e Adaševci in Serbia.
    Le organizzazioni impegnate nei centri per migranti potrebbero avere un importante ruolo di stress-relief (supporto in situazione di pressione psicologica) in un contesto di frustrazioni e violenze così diffuse, ma le organizzazioni che gestiscono i campi e i governi locali preferiscono una dimesione di chiusura quasi totale, senza capire che sarebbe importante prevenire la crescita di ulteriori tensioni.
    Caritas e Ipsia Acli, partner dei progetti lungo la rotta dei Balcani dal 2016, continuano – nella misura del possibile – le loro attività in Grecia, Serbia e Bosnia. Gli operatori locali sono portavoce e testimoni dei bisogni delle persone; anche se, a seguito dell’emergenza sanitaria, i ragazzi e le ragazze in Servizio civile all’estero hanno dovuto tornare in patria per non rimanere bloccati, e ciò ha tolto forze ed energie ai team locali, gli operatori sul terreno continuano il supporto alla popolazione migrante lungo la Rotta. Un piccolo apporto, in un mare di bisogni, ma il segno di un’attenzione e una prossimità che non devono essere cancellate dal virus.

    https://www.caritas.it/home_page/attivita_/00008790_Migranti_lungo_la_Rotta__quarantena_permanente.html

    #route_des_balkans #Balkans #Grèce #Croatie #campement #hébergement #camps #forêt #masques #distanciation_sociale #Grèce #Serbie #Bosnie #fermeture_des_frontières #frontières #coronavirus #covid-19 #Lipa #Bihac #OIM #IOM #Danish_Refugee_Council #Ritsona #Athènes #Malakasa #Kranidi #Bira #confinement #liberté_de_mouvement #Miral #Velika_Kladuša #Velika_Kladusa #Blažuj #Blazuj #Preševo #Adaševci #Krnja #Presevo #Adasevci

    ping @luciebacon

    • [Traduit par Chiara Lauvergnac, via Migreurop] 

      Migrants along the Route, permanent quarantine
      April 27, 2020
      Starting in March, as the coronavirus spread to Europe, some states located along the rear Balkan have implemented agreements that have affected not only the local population, but also and above all the migrant population living inside the transit and asylum seeker centers, set up and set up along the so-called Balkan route from 2016.
      After 2015, the year of the “refugee crisis”, which saw almost one million people arrive in the European Union (of which more than 850 thousand passed through Greece), starting from March 2016 the Balkan route was officially declared closed, on the basis of the controversial Turkish-European agreement, which basically provides that Turkey - in exchange for € 6 billion paid by the EU and an acceleration in negotiations related to entry into Europe - handles almost 4 million asylum seekers who we are in its territory.

      In fact, however, that agreement (actually a joint declaration between the parties involved) did not stop the flow of people on the move, but really slowed it down and made it more dangerous; it is estimated, in fact, that between 2016 and 2019 around 160 thousand people have passed through this migratory corridor.

      Red-hot borders

      The countries mainly affected by the presence of migrants in transit are Greece, Serbia and - starting from 2018 - Bosnia and Herzegovina, that became the bottleneck in the north-western area before entering Croatia and from there the Shengen countries, the destination which people aspire to, who are mainly from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iran and Iraq.

      Shortly before the pandemic took off globally, starting from the end of February, the Balkan Route had returned to the main newspapers and news sites, because Turkish President Recep Tayyp Erdogan announced he had opened the borders to migrants willing to reach Europe. What seemed only a threat became reality; within a few days at least 10,000 people reached the land border between Turkey and Greece and tried to push through the security cordons, finding a violent response, also with the support of the police and military personnel from other EU countries.
      The incandescent situation on the border, which showed a scenario similar to that of 2015, with thousands of people in transit along the route, however, was abruptly interrupted with the arrival of the virus and the measures of closure of movement and the self-isolation put into practice by almost all states of the world.
      The states located along the Balkan route have not only imposed restrictive measures on the local population, but have closed the migrant population inside the camps, deploying special forces to control their perimeters: no new person enters and no one excludes, in a permanent quarantine.
      They take the road in the woods

      In Greece there are an estimated 118,000 refugees and asylum seekers; about 20 thousand inhabitants in the 30 camps located on the continent, many residents in apartments or shelters and over 38 thousand are blocked in the official and informal camps on the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos and Kos.
      In Serbia there are over 8,500 asylum seekers and migrants distributed in the 17 government-run centers within the country. During the month of March the police and army brought the people who lived in the squat on the outskirts of Belgrade and Šid into the camps, which are now overcrowded.
      Finally, it is estimated that in Bosnia and Herzegovina there are about 5,500 people housed in 9 camps for reception, but that at least 2,000 live sleeping in abandoned buildings and factories or in makeshift tents and camps in the woods along the borders with Croatia. On April 17, the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina decided that every foreigner who does not have a valid identity document and a residence address registered at the foreign office of the municipality of competence, will be obligatorily taken to the reception centers, where he must reside without possibility to go out. For this reason, work has already started in the past weeks, in Lipa, in the canton of Una Sana, in the Bihac area, to set up a new temporary transit centre. The camp, consisting of large tents with bunk beds, sanitary containers and chemical toilets, was fortuitously desired by the municipality of Bihac to move the thousands of people who wander through streets and ruined buildings without food, running water, electricity and clothes. Transportation of migrants, escorted by local police, to the new centre managed by the the World Organization for Migrants and the Danish Refugee Council began peacefully from the morning of April 21. At the same time, dozens of people who do not want to live in the centres and remain stuck in quarantine indefinitely, have decided to take the road through the woods and try to go to Croatia or stay in the forests, waiting for anti-Covid measures to loosen in the various countries.
      The concerns raised by the various non-governmental organizations and associations in all the contexts mentioned are the same: thecamps are overcrowded and do not allow to prevent the spread of the infection, in many centers the toilets and health facilities are insufficient, in some situations the water is not drinkable and basically it is impossible to keep your distance. People spend their days locked in structures in most cases dilapidated, forced to wait in long lines to receive meals and under the control of the police and the army (as in Serbia and Greece), which prevent attempts to flee the camps, or private surveillance companies in the camps in Bosnia ( managed by IOM, unlike Serbia and Greece, where they are under government management).
      Of course, if it is already difficult for the local population to find disposable masks and gloves, for migrants in the camps it is almost impossible, to the point that both in Greece and Serbia, in some of the centers the migrants have begun to sew masks in cloth , for the population of the campss but also for the local population, supported by some organizations.
      In all camps, organizations that do not deal with primary services, but for example with psycho-social interventions such as IPSIA/Caritas, have had to suspend or modify their activities and establish a rotating staff working mode, to preserve their operators.
      Impossible distancing

      Although cases of positive Covid19 people among migrants in the centers have not been officially recognized in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the same cannot be said of Greece, where at least three outbreaks have erupted, the first in Ritsona, a former military base 70 kilometers from Athens, which houses over 3,000 people, the second in the Malakasa camp, where a positive case was found among the more than 1,600 residents, the third in southern Greece, in Kranidi, where 150 out of 497 people from a hostel hosting single parent families tested positive. In all cases the camps were placed in total isolation and quarantined for 14 days, and people are not allowed to leave their containers, rooms or tents. To prevent the phenomenon from exploding especially in contexts such as the islands, where the camps are overcrowded and the living conditions most miserable, the Greek government has disposed the movement of at least 2,300 people considered most vulnerable to the virus on the mainland, in apartments, hotels and other camps.
      In general, the reactions of migrants to the measures that have been put in place have been similar in all places. First of all, there is the sincere concern of getting sick in the camps; people are aware that hygiene and social distancing measures are impossible to maintain. For example, the Bira, a camp in Bosnia and Herzegovina for single men and unaccompanied minors, which has an official capacity of 1,500 people, is home to more than 1,800 and not just 6 people live in one container, but at least twice as many. In places like this it is physically impossible to put in place all the necessary procedures to avoid contagion.
      Another point that is particularly frustrating, especially in the camps in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, is the impossibility of physically leaving the centers. This means not being able to exercise any freedom of movement, not being able to go and buy goods and food, perhaps not necessary for survival, but of help to resist psychologically. It means not being able to go and collect the money that relatives send via Western Union and Money gram and obviously means not being able to try the game, the “game” to go on foot, alone or guided by traffickers, to the borders, to try to cross them.
      .
      The Caritas and Ipsia interventions

      The frustration of getting stuck indefinitely is very high; in many of the camps brawls sometimes even very violent broke out, among the migrants themselves but also with the police and security forces in charge of the control of the centers. These incidents in Bosnia and Herzegovina occurred among unaccompanied minors from the Bira camp, in Velika Kladuša’s Miral, in Blažuj near Sarajevo. Same dynamics, with consequent heavy security intervention, in Krnja? A, Preševo ​​and Adaševci in Serbia.
      Organizations engaged in migrant centers may have an important stress-relief role (support in situations of psychological pressure) in a context of such widespread frustrations and violence, but the organizations that manage the camps and local governments prefer an almost closed closure total, without understanding that it would be important to prevent the growth of further tensions.
      Caritas and Ipsia Acli, partners of projects along the Balkan route since 2016, continue - as far as possible - their activities in Greece, Serbia and Bosnia. Local operators are spokespersons and witnesses to people’s needs; even though, following the health emergency, the young men and women in the Civil Service abroad had to return to their homeland in order not to get stuck, and this took away local forces and energies. The operators on the ground continue to support the migrant population along the Route. A small contribution, in a sea of ​​needs, but the sign of attention and proximity that must not be erased by the virus.

      Silvia Maraone

      Caritas Italiana - Migranti lungo la Rotta, quarantena permanente

  • AYS Weekend Digest 18–19/4/20

    FEATURED
    During this weekend a tragic incident happened at the Vial camp on Chios.
    Please, read about it in our latest AYS Special, based on the statements and accounts by people on the ground at the time and residents of the camp.
    AYS Special from Chios: Fire swallows up makeshift homes of thousands
    The results of last night’s huge fires and damages in Vial camp are laid bare this morning. The protests happened after…
    medium.com
    There were big fires in a number of different areas. One was near the front of the camp where the shop, the police kiosk and at least two police cars were burned down. In the middle of the official camp the information & food distribution point were set ablaze, as well as the food stores. At the back of the camp, perhaps the most devastating fire occurred. At least three of the larger ‘Rubb Hall’ enclosures, which can accommodate well over 40 people, were burned down. People’s homes have been completely destroyed, almost all of their personal belongings aside from what they could salvage are gone.
    Three asylum seekers were arrested under a suspicion they are responsible for the violent incidents that broke out on Saturday following the start of the fire. Reportedly, the police said that a large number of people are detained.

    BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
    There are many people still scattered across the country’s towns and villages, without a proper reception facility, those who are outside the system due to the system’s capacities find their own way of going through every day. They sleep in abandoned houses, outside in the open, in train wagons, whatever is at hand in these difficult days when everyone sees another person as a possible life threat. The current situation in many places still seeks a proper, humane and realistic (in terms of capacities and conditions) coordinated approach in order to be sure it is assessed and approached in the best way. It is not about the international standards, at this point, it is still about people needing food, and their basic rights met and their dignity respected.
    The first people were planned to be taken to the provisional tent settlement near Bihać, Lipa, built with the support and management of the international organisations, a project we wrote previously about and we will report about the plan being put into practice.
    Although many see it as a step forward, we like to always remind that “international standards” stand for a MINIMUM level of standards when it comes to international aid and protection and it should serve as a warning of a line never to be reached, or even crossed, and not as a goal, as it seems to be interpreted more and more by those deciding and putting things into place.

    https://medium.com/are-you-syrious/ays-weekend-digest-18-19-4-20-vial-fire-latest-in-line-to-confirm-that-evacu

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Camp #Chios #Vial #Incendie #Révolte #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Squat #Lipa #Bihac

  • AYS Daily Digest 17/04/20

    GREECE
    An article has been published in the German newspaper DER SPIEGEL that gives insight into the Greek government’s plans to handle an outbreak of COVID-19 in the camps on the mainland and the islands. The plan is called Agnodike and comprises three levels:
    1. Preventive measures: Lockdown and partial curfew, controlled by police. A special area will be assigned in which new arrivals can be tested and cases of infection can be isolated.
    2. First cases inside the camp: complete curfew. NGOs are only allowed in with special permission. Health stations will be erected with space for 30 people.
    3. The virus spreads, evacuation: complete separation of healthy and infected people. The smaller of the two groups will be evacuated and accommodated in hotels, ships or gyms.

    A total of 2,300 most vulnerable people will be transferred from the islands to the mainland. These people are above 60 years of age or have chronic diseases. They will be transferred together with their families. The transfers are supposed to take place after the Orthodox Easter celebrations on April 19th. The people will be housed in camps, apartments, and hotels.

    The Moria Corona Awarness Team and the Moria White Helmets, two volunteer refugee groups, wrote a dramatic appeal to the European Union.
    “While Corona spread in Greece and here in Lesvos, we expected the worst, because this virus in the camp would be like a death sentence for old, sick and other vulnerable individuals”

    Three groups of people are still camping rough on the northern coast of Lesvos, without any substantial aid or support. They have been there for some 25 days now. The people told Mare Liberum: “different people tell us different things, and that changes day by day”. Apparently it is clear now that they will stay on the island and will eventually be able to apply for asylum. The local authorities are apparently fighting about who should take care of them. According to a new law, the communes in which the people are should take care of them, but they seem to be lacking the political will.

    IOM is proud to present a video of the distribution of food baskets and hygiene kits in the Malakasa camp in central Greece. The camp is run by IOM and hosts 1,600 people, including 620 children. The camp has been under quarantine since April 5th. If people have been without hygiene kits since that time, there is nothing to be proud of. “Immediate response” to a contagious disease for people who are not allowed to leave a facility and take care for themselves should not take almost two weeks.

    The journalist Mortaza Behboudi, who is an indispensable source on the ground who covers the living conditions in Moria for the French /German TV channel ARTE, has been attacked and exposed to threats of physical violence on Twitter by the Greek right wing politician Thanos Tzimeros. Reporters without borders is concerned about Mortaza’s security and calls on the politician to refrain from smearing journalists.

    Movement on the Ground donated 8,000 pieces of essential soap to the Vathy camp management on Samos. About 6,900 people live in and around the camp. The soap was distributed to all of them during the week.

    Recognized refugees in Greece face big challenges after their asylum process is completed. The UNHCR ESTIA program (Emergency Support to Integration and Accomodation) is not designed for recognized refugees. Since it is very difficult for them to find a job or receive state benefits, many of them become homeless. This is especially problematic for families, as homeless shelters do not accept them at all.

    The US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt announced that US will support Greece with 500,000 $ to support COVID-19 response efforts for migrants and refugees.
    This February 2020 Factsheet from UNHR gives a good overview on what UNHCR is doing in Greece.

    About 50 minors who are being transferred to Germany from the Greek islands will arrive in Germany today, on April 18th. We falsely reported that they had already arrived yesterday.

    CROATIA
    Violent push-backs from Croatia to Bosnia continue in the time of the pandemic, as No Name Kitchen reports:
    “Over the last several weeks, we have continued to receive reports and news updates of the violent push-back of people-on-the-move by Croatian authorities to the borderlands surrounding Velika Kladusa, Bosnia (the men in the pictures above experienced this brutality within the last week). These testimonies of violence include stories of individuals being beaten with batons, thrown into cold rivers, and having their clothing stolen.”

    BH
    The Red Cross in Bihac and the Civil Protection Headquarters of Bosnia’s Federation have set up a new camp, consisting of 50 tents with 200 beds in total. The camp is supposed to accommodate the people on the move who are currently in the northwestern Una-Sana Canton.
    About 7,000 people are currently stranded in the Bihac region. About 3,300 are accommodated in closed camps, the rest live in abandoned buildings and shelters. During the corona pandemic resentment against the people is rising; at the same time their life is getting even harder, as they are not allowed to use public transport, cannot be seen in groups, some shops won’t let them in to buy groceries and the police gets more violent towards them every day.

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Croatie #Confinement #Isolation #Couvrefeu #Transfert #Grècecontinentale #Hotel #Bateau #Gymnase #Lesbos #Malakasa #Quarantaine #Allemagne #mineursnonaccompagnés #Enfants #Bihac #Unasanacanton

    https://medium.com/are-you-syrious/ays-daily-digest-17-04-20-at-least-some-of-the-people-who-have-been-rescued-

  • AYS Daily Digest 14/04/20

    GREECE
    #Kos
    Two days ago, people finally received their cash card top up. Normally, they receive financial assistance at the beginning of the month, as do most people in Greece, but due to the Corona restrictions, it was late this month. A lot of people needed to go shopping as they were running out of food, but only 65 people are currently allowed to go out at one time. There are currently over a thousand people in the camp, which has become more crowded since they moved the people camping outside to within the walls of the hotspot. As a result the situation escalated and the police beat both the women and the men to separate the groups.

    #Ritsona
    With 14 more days of quarantine, the people in Ritsona have no way to protect themselves. Seven out of ninety have already tested positive in the community.

    #Thessaloniki
    Mobile Info Team has recorded information from 30 homeless people on the move in Thessaloniki who were fined by the police under the “movement restrictions.” One person has been fined as often as 5 times, another two people, 4 times each. These people have nowhere to live, nowhere to go and the government who refuses to assist them sends its law enforcement officers to fine them?

    #Lesbos
    Fascist violence has been escalating over the past few weeks and on April 8th they burned down the home of refugees living outside Moria. Mare Liberum spoke with two of the men who were living there.
    The latest fire in #Moria caused a lot of devastating destruction.
    Luckily, the White Helmets have begun cleaning up the area, trying to make conditions better and cleaner for residents.
    Seawatch is working to send 1000 masks to Lesvos to try to curb the outbreak.
    #Incendie #Xenophobie

    #Chios
    The Ministry of Immigration and Asylum signed a contract today to lease a property in the ALITHEIA complex, in #Lefkonia-Kontari area of ​​Chios, for the creation of a space for the stay of the newcomers.
    The rent for a period of seven months amounts to 46,200 EURO, with the possibility of extending the lease, and the property will operate as a place of residence for newly arrived immigrants. This is supposedly all done in an effort to disperse the impact of the Corona pandemic. The impetus for the decision was stated as:
    “For reasons of urgency and unpredictability that are not the fault of the Greek State, as well as for reasons of security, public order and public interest, with attention to the need to take the necessary measures to protect public health and society as a whole.”

    #Samos
    Some good news out of Samos today. A young Syrian boy’s family reunification case was accepted! Hassan* will be able to join his older brother in the UK. The pictures below were taken by Hassan himself and demonstrate the dire conditions in the camps.

    #Transfert #Mineurs #Enfants
    This afternoon 20 minors were taken from Moria Camp to the harbor of Piraeus (Athens). They should reach Germany by the 18th.

    Human Rights Watch is calling for hundreds of migrant children who are in Greece without parents or relatives and in immigration detention to be moved to child friendly housing. HRW say they are currently at a heightened risk for contracting COVID-19.

    Human rights violations including illegal pushbacks continue occurring at the Greece-Turkey border. Read MIT’s report co-authored with No Name Kitchen and Border Violence Monitoring Network for more information on the update situation.

    BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA

    The changing weather has just added to the number of difficulties people on the move face while stuck in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As there is no public transport at their disposal and no freedom of movement for them, getting from one place to another is extremely difficult. Most of the people are left out on their own (if they are not forced into provisional campsite like #Lipa near #Bihac), only some have managed to stay in private accommodation under different conditions and circumstances, while many are stuck in different hardships of the official camps run by international organisations, and German Civil Protection (Technisches Hilfswerk) in the case of recently infamous #Blazuj camp. Those who bother to go the extra step and show humane treatment to these people in transit through Bosnia and Herzegovina more than often see images of despair among these people who now also often carry the stigma of potential health risk in the context of coronavirus, although no infected people have been reported among all those people throughout the country.

    https://medium.com/are-you-syrious/ays-14-04-2020-left-to-fend-for-themselves-europes-unspoken-migration-policy

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Camp

  • CDB

    BOSNIE-HERZÉGOVINE : UN CAMP D’URGENCE OUVRE PRÈS DE LA FRONTIÈRE CROATE
    20 avril - 15h :Selon l’Organisation internationale des migrations, le camp d’urgence de Lipa est prêt à ouvrir. Situé à une trentaine de kilomètre de Bihać, ce centre pourra héberger jusqu’à mille personnes dans de grandes tentes collectives. L’objectif : accueillir les migrants qui survivaient dans les squats ou les bois du canton d’Una Sana, à la frontière avec la Croatie.

    Les fonds nécessaires à la construction de ce camp d’isolement ont été fournis par la ville de Bihać, l’Union européenne et l’Agence des États-Unis pour le développement international (USAID). L’objectif est d’y fournir un suivi médical aux migrants face à l’épidémie de coronavirus et de rassurer la population locale. Aucun cas de covid-19 n’a été enregistré pour le moment parmi les migrants examinés en Bosnie-Herzégovine.

    https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Les-dernieres-infos-Refugies-Balkans-Bosnie-Herzegovine-un-nouvea

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Lipa #Camp #Bihac #UnaSanaCanton

  • InfoPark
    15 – 21 April 2020
    Weekly Flashback

    Serbia
    ➢ 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
    voluntary isolation.

    ➢ 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.

    Greece
    ➢ 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.

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Serbie #Grèce #Camp #Obrenovac #Adasevci #Roumanie #Lipa #Bihac #Chios #Vial #Révolte #Incendie #Accordderéadmission #Autriche

  • (Google Translation - original BCS] 

    Stuck in BiH: Thousands of people without housing, food and medical assistance

    Several thousand people are currently sleeping on the streets of Bihac, abandoned houses and former factories. There is no place for them at Camp Bira, and they survive with the help of locals and volunteers who organize themselves to provide them with food.

    Several thousand people are currently sleeping on the streets of Bihac, abandoned houses and former factories. There is no place for them at Camp Bira, and they survive with the help of locals and volunteers who organize themselves to provide them with food.

    One of the largest squats is located near Camp Bira. At the time the eTrafika team visited them, about 120 men were staying there. The spacious, abandoned two-story building is a temporary home for people from Pakistan, Agvanistan, Bangladesh… While some of them absorb sunlight in the open, others prepare lunch. We came without notice or acquaintance with any of them. We just showed up and asked if it was okay to have a little chat and record the atmosphere inside the building. Without thinking, they agreed and invited us to come in.

    As they make their way around the chicken and rice courts, they tell us that volunteers occasionally visit them and bring them food. However, it is difficult to care for so many people and often not enough for everyone.

    Here one knows who is doing what, while some are burning, others are chopping onions, cleaning potatoes, or kneading bread. They ask us if we like rice and then pour it into bowls and give it to us. None of them wants to stay here, but because of closed borders, they are currently “stuck” in BiH.

    We also attended a farewell from a group of guys who went into the games (illegal border crossing). With large backpacks full of clothing and food for a ten-day walk, they searched for their friends in a crowd, then hugged them for a long time in greeting. This may be the last time they are seen live.

    Across the city, people are moving around abandoned homes, about a dozen in each. They buy food at a nearby market or bring it to volunteers. All have repeatedly tried to cross the Croatian border and most have similar experiences.

    “Croatian police take away all our belongings - phones, external batteries, sleeping bags, backpacks with food… They even force us to take off our shoes and jackets and then bring us back to BiH. Sometimes they beat us, sometimes they don’t. They didn’t touch me last time, "a young man from Pakistan tells us.

    While they have no problems with the locals and the police, conflicts arise between them.

    “Recently, a group of almost 20 Afghans came in for us overnight. They all had knives. They robbed us, but they did not hurt us. They took almost all the phones, we managed to hide two, ”he says.

    Thirty kilometers further, in the settlement Tržac on the border with Croatia, the situation is almost identical, the difference is only in the number of people. In one of the abandoned houses we found a group of eight Pakistanis. Most of them want to go to Italy, while one young man is planning to reach Spain.

    A young man from Pakistan
    "I have been in BiH for two years, I tried to cross the border 30 times. I was caught once by the Slovenian police and 29 times by the Croatian police. They beat me up and took all the things I had. They even made me take off my shoes and then they lit it all up. Pakistan is a good country, but there is no business there, so I want to get to Spain. Some people are good here and some are not. The police are fine, they don’t touch us. The locals are really good, they give us flour, oil and milk, ”he tells us.

    The locals we spoke with did not want to be filmed, but emphasized that they never had any problems with the people on the move.

    “They take the water, charge the phones a little and that’s it,” an elderly woman we met near the house where people on the move are staying tells us.

    Her neighbor points out that she has never had an awkward situation with them.

    “Sometimes they come in front of the house, but they do not enter the yard. There was never a problem with them, they did not attack us. They look for abandoned houses where they can sleep, ”he explains.

    So does her neighbor Suleiman.

    "When they see which house is empty, that’s where they are. When we meet on the street there are no problems. I was a refugee and I understand them all, ”he emphasizes as he tidies up the yard.

    In Sturlic, about 40 kilometers from Bihac, we met a young man from Libya named Ejub (35). As he tells us, he left home two years ago because of the war and reached BiH via Turkey, Greece, Macedonia and Serbia. It combined hiking and bus rides. Here he sleeps under the open sky.

    "Our country is destroyed by war, you have no chance of a stable life and we are forced to look for it somewhere else. I’ve been in BiH for about two months. First I was in Sarajevo, so we came to Kladusa and then to Bihac. The campsites are full, there is no place for us. There are already more people there than beds. We sleep outside, we have no shelter, not even a tent. There are five of us traveling together. Our plan is to try to cross the border again. I want to get to Belgium, I have a family there. I have completed master studies in information technology. I hope to find a job in Belgium and make my living, ”he says.

    Young men from Libya
    So far, he has tried twice to cross the border, but has been caught and taken back by police and seized items he had with him. He has a very good opinion of the locals.

    "Bosnians are good people, so far I have not met badly or had a problem with anyone. When you respect them, they respect you too. And the police are fine. When you register and give them your fingerprints for identification, they will not touch you. However, some refugees pose problems, ”he stresses.

    During this time, marketers in Bihać make it clear that people on the move are not welcome at their facilities.

    In order to remove people from the street and from abandoned buildings, a tent camp for 1,000 people was set up in the village of Lipa 20 kilometers from Bihac. The financiers are the City of Bihac, the European Union and USAID, who point out that everything is done according to international standards. On the other hand, volunteers warn that a new Wolf is preparing, an unconditional camp in which people will be separated from civilization. According to officials, the move of people on the move to Camp Lipa is planned for tomorrow.

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Transfert #Camp #Lipa #Bihac #Tržac #Bira #Refoulement #Push-Back #Croatie

  • [Google Translation - original, BCS] 

    Today the reception of the first migrants to the new Lipa camp
    04/20/2020
    Although Bihac City Council accepted Lipa as a new location to house migrants in November last year, authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina gave their consent only after the declaration of a coronavirus pandemic in BiH, to move several thousand migrants from the streets of Krajina cities.

    Although the first displacement of migrants was announced in March, it has not yet occurred. According to official announcements, the first migrants are expected to enter the new Lipa camp today, so intensive training is being done to train the camp. 50 tents were erected on this site, which should house 1000 migrants.

    ŠUHRET FAZLIĆ, Mayor of Bihać

    “A project is underway that is certainly the largest construction undertaking in the Balkans. Who hasn’t been up there can’t know what’s going on. Up there is a million investments. 15 days ago, there was only a meadow upstairs; now, up to 1000 migrants are being accommodated, ”said Fazlic.

    Since the authorities do not want the image of Vucjak to be repeated, the opening of the Lipa camp is delayed. The issue of electricity, water and drainage has been resolved and green light from the health sector is still pending.

    According to the Cantonal Institute of Public Health, they receive daily reports from the DRC and IOM on the health status of migrants in reception centers. Migrants will be triaged at the entrance to Lipa and quarantined.

    Epidemiologist ZARINA MULABDIC, Director of the Public Health Institute

    "We are pleased with those found above. It just needs to be done until the end, something about the infrastructure that needs to be supplemented. It will be a great solution, not like Vučjak, to which I have given a negative opinion as an epidemiologist, ”said Mulabdić.

    Lipa is primarily intended for the reception of migrants who are on the streets of Bihać and do not have basic living conditions worthy of a human being.

    MUSTAFA RUZNIC, USK Prime Minister

    “The capacity for now is 1000 migrants. We will see how the situation develops. You saw, it’s a small town by all standards, ”Ruznic said.

    Epidemiologist ZARINA MULABDIC, Director of the Institute of Public Health

    Our goal is to put what we have on the street in Lipa so that we have control, Mulabdić added.

    The Una-Sana Cantonal Ministry of Interior says they are ready to move migrants, both those from the streets of Bihac and those who have a temporary roof over their heads in abandoned buildings.

    NERMIN KLJAJIC, USK Minister of the Interior

    "In this way, we will respect the decision of the Council of Ministers on an absolute ban on movement. I believe that some 400 to 500 migrants can be moved up to that location this week, Kljajic explained.

    The citizens of Bihac are in self-isolation while migrants are free to roam the city streets while waiting for their relocation. Without basic hygiene and health conditions, the threat of widespread coronavirus pandemics is open.

    https://bhrt.ba/1134278/danas-prijem-prvih-migranata-u-novi-kamp-lipa

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Transfert #Camp #Lipa #Bihac

  • Newly formed ’Lipe’ migrant camp will be operational soon (PHOTO)

    Hundreds of migrants from across the northwestern Una-Sana Canton, the area affected the most by the migrant crisis in Bosnia, will be sent to the newly formed ‘Lipe’ migrant camp in the coming days.

    The Civil Protection Headquarters of Bosnia’s Federation (FBiH) region and the Red Cross in Bihac have already set up 50 tents containing 200 beds.

    “We will soon complete the transit centre for all the migrants who are currently moving freely across towns in the USK, especially Velika Kladusa and Bihac,” said USK Prime Minister, Mustafa Ruznic.

    “We will, together with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Bihac city authorities, the Red Cross, and the USK ministries of interior and health begin moving the migrants,” he said.

    The project cost about two million Bosnian Marks.
    http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a426355/Newly-formed-Lipe-migrant-camp-will-be-operational-soon-PHOTO.html

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Camp #Lipa #Unasanacanton #Velikakladusa #Bihac #

  • Migrants in Bosnia ‘More Vulnerable to Infection’ Despite Lockdown
    Anja Vladisavljevic and Danijel Kovacevic
    Banja Luka, Zagreb
    BIRN
    March 23, 202006:30

    https://balkaninsight.com/2020/03/23/migrants-in-bosnia-more-vulnerable-to-infection-despite-lockdown

    Many people in Bosnia and Herzegovina are self-isolating at home to protect themselves from the coronavirus, but migrants and refugees living in squatted buildings and tent camps are more vulnerable to infection because they can’t take the same precautions.
    he streets of Banja Luka, the main city in Bosnia’s Serb-dominated Republika Srpska entity, are almost empty. Fear of contracting the coronavirus has caused most people to stay indoors.

    But some people in the city cannot take such precautions because they have fled their homes, and those homes are several thousand kilometres away from Bosnia.

    Not far from Banja Luka’s railway station, BIRN met Feroz, a migrant from Afghanistan, and his friend from Morocco.

    “I spent almost all winter in a tent at the Tuzla train station [in eastern Bosnia]. I can’t do that anymore, I’m going to Bihac [near the Croatian border] and try to cross over to Croatia,” Feroz said.

    Feroz has heard about the coronavirus, but said he is not afraid of it. He said he does not know that a state of emergency has been declared in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    Republika Srpska had 29 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection by Thursday, and 23 of them are in Banja Luka.

    The country has introduced emergency measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection. All restaurants and cafes are closed, and only grocery stores and pharmacies are still working.

    People here are reminded daily to adhere to the recommended personal hygiene regime, to avoid public gatherings, and not to leave their homes without urgent need.

    Feroz, who left his native Afghanistan three years ago, worries that this might complicate his journey to his preferred destination, Germany.

    “There was a lot of sick in the tents in Tuzla, but I don’t think it’s a corona[virus],” he said.

    Restrictions on movement imposed

    Reception camp Bira near the town of Bihac. Photo: BIRN.

    There are approximately 7,500 registered migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina. For at least 2,500 of them, there are no places in temporary reception centres set up by the authorities.

    On Wednesday, the government of the Sarajevo Canton, which includes the Bosnian capital and various nearby towns and villages, imposed restrictions on the movement of migrants and ordered them into temporary reception centres.

    “As the existing capacities in temporary reception centres will not be sufficient to accommodate all the migrants located in and moving around the Sarajevo Canton, the government will without delay send the authorities an initiative to establish an additional temporary reception centre (facility, tent settlement, etc) in the canton,” the Sarajevo Canton’s government said in a press release.

    Una-Sana Canton, in the west of the country near the border with Croatia, has been hardest hit by the migrant crisis. On top of this, the first case of coronavirus infection in the area was confirmed on Tuesday.

    As a result, the Una-Sana Canton’s crisis headquarters issued an order on Monday to completely restrict the movement of migrants outside the temporary reception centres in which they are housed.

    Back in Banja Luka, Feroz and his Moroccan companion did not know that in Bihac, where they were planning to go, measures to prohibit the movement of migrants had come into force. They said they would worry about that when they arrive.

    Migrants in squats unmonitored

    Migrants and refugees in front of the reception camp Bira near the town of Bihac. Photo: BIRN.

    There have so far been no indications of coronavirus symptoms at temporary reception centres for migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to the International Organisation for Migration, IOM.

    “Preventive measures are being implemented in reception centres in cooperation with the World Health Organisation, the Danish Refugee Council, DRC, and the Institute for Public Health of the Sarajevo Canton,” Edita Selimbegovic, a public information officer at the IOM, told BIRN.

    Selimbegovic added that there are currently enough medical staff in the temporary reception centres.

    But migrants who are living in squatted accommodation or on the streets rather than in temporary reception centres pose a different problem. A significant number of them are in Tuzla in eastern Bosnia, and in the west of the country in the Una-Sana Canton, close to Croatia.

    “We lack the capacity to adequately accommodate all migrants who are outside the temporary reception centres and have control over them at the centres to avoid them being infected,” Selimbegovic said.

    The contruction of tent camp on the “Lipa” site, between Bihac and Bosanski Petrovac, began on Saturday, and iz is expected to accommodate migrants and refugees who are on the streets.

    “We received the support of the Security Ministry, the Federal Government and immediately we started to set up a tent settlement. The primary goal of everything we do is the protect of epidemiological and health situation in the town, but also to find more humane accommodation for these people,” Bihac mayor Suhret Fazlic said on Saturday.

    IPSIA, an Italian NGO that has been working in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1997 and is now helping migrants and refugees, warned that migrants in squats and improvised camps could end up living in dangerous conditions.

    “Migrants inside the camps do not understand what is going on, at the moment they are more confused than angry,” ISPIA told BIRN.

    Migrants trying to get to EU countries also do not know that coronavirus-related restrictions on movement are in force there too, ISPIA added.

    “Migrants are also not aware that even if they get to Slovenia or Italy they are not free to move inside these countries, we know that many are stuck in Trieste [in Italy] and at the moment in that city, the reception centres are full or in quarantine too,” it said.

    Meanwhile Bosnia and Herzegovina’s border police are warning that the influx of migrants can be expected to increase soon.

    “On the one hand, there is the warmer weather, and on the other, the fact that Turkey has opened its borders [for migrants to leave for the EU],” border police spokesperson Franka Vican told BIRN.

    “We do not have enough police or the technical means to control the border itself. The border police are lacking 401 police officers to carry out regular activities. In the extraordinary circumstances as they are now, another 1,200 police officers are needed to effectively guard the Bosnian state border,” Vican added.

    ‘No one is safe until we are all protected’

    Reception camp Bira near the town of Bihac. Photo: BIRN.

    A group of activists involved in the Transbalkan Solidarity Group published an open letter on Wednesday with some 500 signatures, urging the European Union and countries in the region to take care of refugees and migrants who are “stuck in our countries”.

    They warned that currently there are tens of thousands of refugees and migrants in the Balkans – some of them accommodated in official reception centres, but “a large number of people fall outside the system, surviving through the help of the local population and support provided to them by volunteers throughout the region”.

    With the spread of the coronavirus, refugees and migrants’ situation “is becoming even more challenging and demands urgent action of those in charge – local and international actors – and solidarity from all of us”, they said.

    “This is required of us out of elementary humanity as well as the basic logics of public health because no one is safe until we are all protected,” their letter concluded.

    As for Feroz, the migrant from Afghanistan who is currently in Banja Luka, he insisted that will continue his journey to Germany if he can – whatever happens with the coronavirus.

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Squat #Republikasrpska #Banjaluka #Tuzla #Bihac #Croatie #sarajevocanton #unasanacanton #lipa

    • Autre petit conseil (un par jour) : le post est beaucoup plus lisible si tu mets le titre en gras et le texte que tu cites en italique... voir petits boutons en haut à droite de l’espace du post...

  • 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”.