Text: APC Photo: APC
Sid, Subotica, September 18 – Over the last 10 days there has been a noticeable increase in the number of migrants present in open locations both at the Croatian and Hungarian borders.
There are currently about 400 refugees residing in Sid and surrounding open locations along the border with Croatia. Most of them are from Afghanistan, Algeria and Morocco, and a smaller number from Syria, Tunisia, Palestine, Iraq and Iran. Refugees residing near Sid sleep in abandoned factories and tents along the border, most often attempting illegal crosswalks on foot, or in the Batrovci area where they enter truck trailers to cross the border in order to reach Slovenia.
Dozens of migrants are being caught and push-backed (illegally returned) to Serbia on daily basis, denying them right to ask for asylum in Croatia. According to information collected by APC / CZA mobile teams on the ground, Croatian police officers return migrants to Serbia near Tovarnik border area with constant use of physical force and harassment, which includes taking off their clothes, hitting with batons, kicking while refugees are on the ground, destroying mobile phones, as well as burning personal belongings.
The number of migrants attempting daily crossings into Hungary has also increased in Subotica and the surrounding open locations. Migrants try to cross by jumping over a protective fence along the green border area between Horgos and Kelebija. Currently, at least 200 persons from Afghanistan, as well as a small number of persons from Pakistan, Syria and Iraq, reside in abandoned buildings and wagons near Subotica train station. Many refugees come to Subotica after a pushback by Hungarian police officers who arrest them after they cross to Hungarian territory from Croatia.
At least 100 refugees attempt to cross to Hungary near Horgos and Kelebia every day in groups of 3 to 25 people. In Horgos, migrants attempt to enter Hungary by hiding in truck trailers, while in Kelebija they are trying to cross on foot and then jump over the protective fence at the Hungarian border. Small number of refugees staying in Subotica try to cross the border with smugglers.
Hungarian police illegally return migrants to Serbia daily, occasionally using physical force. Most often, they destroy mobile phones and force migrants to take off their shoes, and after a pushback, migrants return barefoot, walking up to 35 km back to the center of Subotica.
An unaccompanied minor M.M. (17, Afghanistan) told the APC / CZA mobile team that he came to Subotica after he had been illegally returned from the border by Hungarian police officers, and that he had no money to return to the camp where he had previously resided. He showed the team his destroyed phone broken by Hungarian police. He said that it was increasingly difficult for him to stay outdoors during the night because the temperatures were very low, and that he was afraid of the coming winter. Legal and psychosocial officials provided the minor with information about the police registration process as well as accommodation options at one of the camps in Serbia, where he would have a safe place to stay, regular meals and health care.