Belgrade, 11/30/2022 – The migrant or refugee population in Serbia is again “in the spotlight” of the public at this moment. Unfortunately, not on a good occasion. It all started with a new armed conflict that took place in Horgoš, in the night of November 24. After a similar incident in June, there was another armed conflict between migrant smugglers right next to the Serbian-Hungarian border. As the public is informed, an injured refugee with two gunshot wounds of the chest was found at the scene of the conflict, while six wounded fugitives were taken to the hospital. The police responded quickly and thoroughly the next day. Also, the police detained several persons, including those suspected of smuggling. While informing the public, the representatives of the institutions used general qualifications in order to explain the incident itself, and the risk of labeling all migrants/refugees in the public as criminals, violent and responsible for the incident has become more real than ever in the society.
Asylum Protection Center reacted urgently in the public with information from the field, and pointed out that behind all this is organized crime and criminal groups that have their local roots, but also a stronghold in the region. APC then particularly emphasized the importance of the struggle of institutions against smuggling groups and that the primary task of our authorities must be the fight against the same domestic and regional criminal groups, whose exponents at the lowest level are the members of smuggling groups from the migrant population, who act on behalf of these groups, fighting for the territory from which they recruit and smuggle victims among refugees/migrants.
Refugees/migrants who escaped from their homelands, such as the Middle East and Africa, fleeing from war, persecution and poverty are victims and represent profitable business opportunity for such criminal organizations.
APC further identified the practice of constant “pushbacks”, i.e. the illegal pushing/banishment of hundreds of refugees/migrants from Hungary to Serbia, as the cause of the strong increase in smuggling and the aforementioned armed incidents. When migrants are forcibly pushed back into the country, considering the lack of accommodation in the camps in the north, they flock to the hands of smugglers who supposedly guarantee them lodging, food and help them cross the border again.
After this firefight, more than a thousand migrants were sent to the overcrowded reception centers in Serbia. However, it is necessary to separate refugees/migrants, both on the field and in the public, from individuals who are smugglers and come from the same population. Exactly such criminals are the link between local criminal groups and refugees, who they recruit and smuggle further into the EU.
It is understandable that this and similar incidents disturb people in our country, and this is especially visible in the north of the country, where smuggling is on the rise. However, this is about organized crime. “We saw gangs fighting for the territory where they want to smuggle more refugees and migrants who are actually the victims in the whole story,” said Đurović, executive director of Asylum Protection Center.
Many migrants/refugees are in the open. People may get the impression that there are now many places where refugees do not want to go to. However, Serbia lacks accommodation capacity. There is a maximum of 5,000 places during winter conditions, adds APC, while more than 2,500 people are outdoors in need of accommodation.
What would be of far-reaching help in the fight against human smuggling is that all migrants on the territory of Serbia have a regulated legal status, whether they receive asylum, stay or leave. In no way should people be left in an irregular position; on the street, and invisible to institutions. Also, one of the solutions is a much greater number of police officers in uniform present in places with bigger risk of criminal activities and smuggling.
Asylum Protection Center stressed that Serbia is the last country before refugees enter the EU, and that the big problem is that many refugees get stuck in Serbia, on its EU borders.
However, APC particularly highlights that in practice conflicts almost always occur between smugglers. It is very rare that a local citizen of Serbia has ever been attacked or injured. Further, in the public discourse, a clear distinction should be made between all migrants and certain migrant criminals-smugglers.
APC emphasized all of the aforementioned in the numerous guest appearances in TV shows, on the daily news and in interviews with all the major media in the country, in order to stand in the way of potential prejudices, and also to prevent further generalization and victimization of the migrant/refugee population.
APC reacted in the public through guest appearances and statements in many media, including:
N1 Beograd, 28.11.2022; Đurović: Ogroman novac u krijumčarenju migranata, učestvuju i lokalci u Srbiji
K1 Televizija, 28.11.2022; Radoš Đurović: Posle pucnjave u Horgošu privedeno preko 1000 migranata
RTS, 29.11.2022; Đurović: Mađarski ’’pušbekovi’’ podstiču krijumčarenje migranata, Srbija kuburi sa smeštajem
Tanjug, 27.11.2022; Radoš Đurović: Iza incidenta u Horgošu stoji organizovani kriminal
021.rs, 26.11.2022; U sukobu na Horgošu učestvovali kriminalci, a ne migranti: Zašto je krijumčarenje ljudi nerešivo?
Blic, 30.11.2022; Plaćaju po 10.000 evra za prelazak preko ’’žice’’! Strani klanovi preuzeli posao krijumčarenja ljudi u Srbiji: Enormne sume za prebacivanje migranata u EU
Danas, 29.11.2022; Đurović: Najveći broj migranata koji prolazi kroz Srbiju nije uopšte vidljiv za naše institucije
antenaM; 26.11.2022; U oružanom sukobu u Horgošu učestvovali kriminalci, a ne migranti
Politika, 27.11.2022; Iza incidenta u Horgošu stoji organizovani kriminal
Autonomija, 27.11.2022; Đurović: Iza sukoba u Horgošu je organizovani kriminal
Nova.rs, 28.11.2022; ’’Ogroman novac u krijumčarenju migranata, učestvuju i lokalci u Srbiji’’
Krstarica, 27.11.2022; Radoš Đurović: Iza incidenta na Horgošu stoji organizovani kriminal
Nova.rs, 29.11.2022; Đurović: Najveći broj migranata nije vidljiv za naše institucije
Magločistač, 28.11.2022; Đurović: Iza sukoba u Horgošu je organizovani kriminal
QNinfo, 27.11.2022; Radoš Đurović: Iza incidenta na Horgošu stoji organizovani kriminal
Novosti, 26.11.2022; Krijumčari ratuju za teritoriju: Incident na mađarsko-srpskoj granici je nastavak ranijih okršaja
HappyTV; 26.11.2022; Rat za teritoriju! Obračun bandi krijumčara ljudima sve češći u Srbiji
SrbijaDanas, 26.11.2022; U Srbiji se vodi rat za teritoriju: Pucnjava u Horgošu obračun kriminalnih bandi, za krijumčarenje ljudi uzimaju ogroman novac