Source: Radio Slobodna Evropa
Đurović: Serbia needs long-term plans for migration management
Belgrade, 08/17/2021 – Radoš Đurović from the Belgrade non-governmental Asylum Protection Center says that it is difficult to assess whether the situation in Afghanistan will trigger a larger wave of refugees, but it is also certain that the events there will affect the situation in the Balkans.
He adds that there is still no noticeable influx of people in Serbia, which is directly caused by the latest events in Afghanistan.
However, Đurović adds, Afghan refugees fleeing the conflict and the Taliban have been arriving in Turkey for months.
“In this light, we expect that the crisis in Afghanistan will affect the intensification of the migration route through the Balkans, but that it will not be as sudden and in the millions as it was in 2015,” says Đurović.
He adds that it is clear that the European Union has been working since the previous refugee crisis to slow down or prevent the recurrence of such a scenario. In such circumstances, Đurović expects that Serbia could be a country where refugees will stay for a long time.
“Serbia is the last country on the route before the Eurozone, and therefore the country through which all refugees must eventually pass,” he adds.
Đurović also assessed that the position of Serbia is inconvenient, because it faces pushbacks every day, that is, the violent return of refugees from the surrounding countries – Croatia, Hungary and Romania.
“So, from the EU countries – which try to slow down migration every day by the physical use of force at the borders,” says Đurović.
Despite numerous reports from international organizations, the authorities of those countries denied the poor treatment of refugees.
Radoš Đurović also assessed that Serbia should develop long-term plans for migration management, within which accommodation capacities would be increased and a temporary protection mechanism would eventually be applied.
“The largest number of people who come to us are not visible to the system at all. Maybe some are placed in the camp, some are not, but even those who are placed in the camp are not in the system. They are invisible. Imagine how the police, the center for social work or health system treat people who do not have any documents from our country, do not have any status here, imagine how exposed these people are to smuggling, crime, violence. This should not be a scenario with an increased influx of people after the crisis in Afghanistan,” explains Radoš Đurović.
According to data from Asylum Protection Center, more than 27,000 people entered Serbia in the first six months of 2021. Of that number, slightly more than 600 people expressed their intention to seek asylum.
“That is not realistic and it shows that the system does not work. It is very difficult for a refugee to start an asylum procedure in Serbia today. It is almost impossible to start it without professional legal help,” Đurović believes.