Info Park Weekly 8– 14 April 2020
➢ In the reporting period, Info Park identified 109 new arrivals to Belgrade - mostly from Afghanistan, followed by Pakistan and Syria. The number shows that COVID- 19 pandemic and the imposed state of emergency did not prevent migrants from coming to Serbia. Given no local or national public transport, the new arrivals completely depend on smugglers’ networks. This was proven by the arrest in Vranje of a local with 9 migrants he transported. In the reporting period, 90 of the newly arrived benefited from Info Park services and a provision of a warm meal during waiting time for transportation to camps. All of them were temporarily accommodated overnight in OSP Miksalište, expecting adequate referral, mainly to a new makeshift camp in Miratovac for 28 days long quarantine, or to a newly open tent camp in the village of Morović (Vojvodina, near the border with Croatia) originally planned to quarantine the locals, with dubious hygienic standards. Given that the overcrowding remained the main issue with nearly 9,000 residents in the camps originally built for 6,000, it was not surprising that Miratovac RC got filled up with 280 migrants in mere 24 hours upon opening.
➢ Serbia registers a constant rise of confirmed COVID-19 cases (tested: 20,958; confirmed cases: 4,054; deaths: 85) making refugees and all other migrants even more concerned about their safety. Dr. Predrag Kon, lead Serbian epidemiologist, said that Roma and migrant population are at higher risk from COVID-19 since they are accommodated in collective centers often lacking adequate conditions for successful prevention. So far, there are no infected among these communities. However, it is encouraging that medical workers continued testing migrants, treating them as equal as Serbian nationals.
➢ Situation in some of the Serbia’s biggest reception and asylum centers did not get any calmer in the past week. On contrary, a further rise of tensions has continued in Krnjača AC, peaking with a riot police intervention on Saturday 12 April which was carried out with an aim to detain the perpetrators of Monday 7 incident we already reported in Weekly 012. Unfortunately, as reported by various witnesses, the police used excessive force including tear gas in an inappropriate manner so unnecessary stress was put on vulnerable population, including children. Two buses of “troublemakers” were sent to newly open camp Morović. It seems that a relation of trust between beneficiaries and authorities is currently on an extremely low level; most of the refugees and migrants in Krnjača AC complain that MoI special units sadly continued intimidating beneficiaries with loud night visits of riot police or helicopters flying low above the camp.
➢ After a long break, the first serious pushback from Serbia was reported on the border with North Macedonia. A group of migrants from Tutin AC (from Algeria, Morocco and Iran) was told by the camp authorities they will be transported to Preševo RC, south of Serbia; instead they were pushed 350km away to a North Macedonia territory near Lojane village. This was a regular practice before 2018, especially with mischiefs from Preševo camp. Lojane village is a long-term smuggling hub and organize crime stronghold.
➢ A number of intercepted attempts to cross the Serbo-Hungarian border remained
low, with 48 attempts for 7 days, ranging between 1 and 11 per day.
➢ Info Park remained its daily presence in Belgrade Savamala area and continued the outreach operations in Pirot and Bujanovac camps with 4 information sharing workshops last week. We are happy to report a reasonably peaceful atmosphere in these camps where almost none of the gaps and issues typical for big camps are noticeable thanks to significant efforts of the SCRM staff and proactive approach of the clients.
Last week, Info Park organized the 7th coordination meeting online, with the participation of representatives from Atina, Praxis, CYI and CRPC. The main topics included current state of emergency and Covid-19 crisis response. None of them have plans of coming back to the field work in the coming weeks, at least not before May.
➢ The emergency suspension of asylum applications between 1 and 31 March has ended and got replaced by general suspension of activities of the Greek Asylum Service until at the end of April. Meanwhile, Malakasa camp, north of Athens has been quarantined due to a confirmed corona virus case. This is the second Greek camp which had to be closed over the pandemic.
➢ Nine European member states (Germany, France, Portugal, Finland, Lithuania, Croatia, Ireland, Belgium and Bulgaria) pledged in early 2020 to accept a total of 1,600 unaccompanied children to be relocated from camps on the Greek islands. Germany is the first to fulfil the promise. According to DW, German officials have expressed regret over the lackluster response from other eight EU states on resettling unaccompanied boys and girls. Two non-EU countries, Switzerland and Serbia, also pledged to do the same, but with no follow up so far. Serbian authorities agreed to relocate 100 unaccompanied children from Greece.
Info Park Weekly 08-14 April 2020 5
#Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Serbie #RépubliquedeMacédoine #Refoulement #Frontières #Camps #Transfert ##Belgrade #Miksaliste #Morovic #Croatie
#Miratovac #Presevo #Krnjaca #Encampement #Tutin #Lojane #Pirot #Bujanovac #Malakasa #Suspensionasile #Allemagne, #France, #Portugal, #Finlande,#Lituanie, #Croatie #Irlande, #Belgique and #Bulgarie #Révolte