Between Closed Borders 2018

Joint agency paper on refugees and migrants in Serbia 2018


Date of publication:  16 Jul 2019 Author:  For CRPC – Maja Dragojević, Dejan Đošić and Željko Milikić For HCIT – Ivana Vukašević Publisher:  Humanitarian Center for Integration and Tolerance Publication type:  Report / Study / Data

This report highlights the latest trends and developments in the situation of refugees and migrants in the Republic of Serbia, based on the data and a series of testimonies collected by the Humanitarian Centre for Integration and Tolerance (HCIT) and the Crisis Response and Policy Centre (CRPC) in 2018, in Belgrade and the border areas. Moreover, the report presents a special chapter that analyses the situation of a more vulnerable group of refugees and migrants – unaccompanied and separated children. According to the data, in 2018 more than 2,800 unaccompanied and separated children were identified in Serbia, of which more than 80 percent were from Afghanistan, succeeded by Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran and other countries.

The Serbian statistics follow the global trend of growing numbers of this group of refugees with special needs. Although the situation of refugees stabilized in Serbia during 2018, refugees and asylum seekers in the Southeast European country continue to face problems and are in need of a more systematic protection. The report also analyzes the new Serbian asylum and migration legislation, which was adopted in the course of last year, more specifically the Law on Asylum and Temporary Protection, along with the practice of misdemeanor courts in AP Vojvodina.

Furthermore, the report examines the irregular arrivals and departures of refugees and asylum seekers in Serbia. Apart from the already established mixed migration routes across Serbia, and the attempts to enter Hungary, Croatia and Romania, the document emphasis a new route via Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is considered to be "the most significant event on a regional level last year."

Additionally, the report covers the cases of collective expulsions of foreigners from neighboring countries to Serbia in 2018, by tracing and gathering evidence of these expulsions and documenting practices of border guards across EU countries.

The paper concludes with a series of recommendations, including the social sensitization of the local population, encouragement of tolerance and acceptance, and also the need to strengthen the protection system at both local and national levels.

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South Eastern Europe

This project is funded by: