Text: APC Photo: APC
Subotica, Horgoš, Kelebija, Kikinda, July 6, 2019 – APC/CZA mobile team regularly visits border areas in northern Serbia, as well as transit and reception camps for migrants and refugees in Subotica, Kikinda, Sid and Principovac, including open locations near borders. They provide migrants with information, legal assistance and assistance with registering at a police station, obtaining registration papers with which they can be accommodated in one of the reception or asylum centers in Serbia, they can express their asylum intention, report corruption, discrimination, smuggling, crimes and human trafficking. In addition, the APC/CZA psychosocial team provides psychological assistance and empowers migrants, helping them to get appropriate health care, to obtain a caregiver if they are unaccompanied minors, to obtain social care and assistance from local welfare centers, but also empowering them to overcome their existing challenges.
The APC/CZA collects information about situation in camps, about living conditions of migrants and refugees and their treatment by camp administrations, representatives of institutions and citizens, on respect for asylum seekers and migrants, their problems, potential discrimination, violence, trafficking, smuggling, push-backs and other challenges of asylum and migration.
Through fieldwork, talks with migrants and refugees and insight into the local situation, from June 25 to July 05, 2019, APC / CZA officials identified current problems, challenges and practices in the northern areas and at the borders of Serbia.
Push-backs on the Serbian-Hungarian border
While visiting open locations where migrants are staying in Subotica (train station), staff members from the northern APC / CZA office spoke to refugees who are staying in these locations and regularly trying to cross the border with Hungary, most often at the Horgos and Kelebija border crossings. A.V. (14, Afghanistan) has just returned from the border crossing with his brother M.V. (15) when the APC / CZA mobile team visited the Subotica train station on 2 July 2019. Two unaccompanied minors stated that they did not manage to get into the truck this time (as they normally do). They were spotted in the parking lot near the Horgos border crossing by Serbian police and they said them only "Come on", indicating to them to return to the territory of Serbia. A.V. states that the Serbian border police told them nothing but to go back without any explanation or use of force. A.V. is in Serbia for a month and he was accommodated at the Institute for the Education of Children and Youth in Belgrade. He showed the phone number of the Institute, which he carries with him in case he decides to return. For now, he doesn't want to go back to the Institute.
At the same location, APC / CZA staff members spoke with K.N. (23, Afghanistan), who stays at this location for two months (as of May 2019). He reported that during the week of trying to cross the Hungarian border, they usually experience physical violence once a week, from one Hungarian police officer who has a beard and he is the only one who hits and beats migrants when he is on shift that particular day of the week. K.N. says that everyone from this site has experienced physical violence at least once by a Hungarian police officer in question. Also, K.N. stated that if migrants are caught by Hungarian police, they are usually detained for 2 to 3 hours at the border police station, where they are photographed before push-back. If there is physical violence against refugees, the shooting takes place after the violence, according to K.M.
E.A. (17, Afghanistan), who arrived at the site in the last week of June from a camp in Krnjaca, said that he was caught by Hungarian police while attempting to cross the border at the Horgos border crossing in a truck trailer on June 28, 2019. The same border police officer described by K.N. battered his entire body in a room with no cameras, which he said was a room inside the police station at the Horgos border crossing.
This post was originally published on Home - Centar za zaštitu i pomoć tražiocima azila / Asylum Protection Center.