Belgrade, August 16, 2020 – The executive director of Asylum Protection Center, Radoš Đurović, said today that the consequences of the crisis in Afghanistan, i.e. a possible increase in migration, will be felt in Serbia and the Balkans only in “a couple of months”.
“The situation in Afghanistan is difficult and refugees are currently mostly arriving in Iran and Turkey, which is affected by numerous refugee crises. Iran suits them best because of linguistic and cultural similarities. For now, these are thousands of people and the situation is under control,” Đurović told Agency Beta.
As he explained, while the war was going on, the roads were not passable, and a problem could arise if the Taliban allow a mass exodus of people who will not want to live under Sharia law.
He pointed out that the influx of refugees to the Balkans and Serbia will probably not be fast, and that we will feel the consequences only if Turkey allows a mass exodus from the country.
“Serbia’s position is difficult because it is the first to the ‘promised land’ and we cannot just let these people pass on. Croatia, Hungary and Romania often send refugees back, and there are physical barriers at the borders,” said Đurović.
He added that there will most likely not be a migrant crisis like in 2015, because Serbia is now in the system of connected courts of the EU, which serves precisely to slow down migration.
However, according to him, everything depends on whether the EU will “close the door” to refugees, because the accommodation facilities in Serbia are almost full.
“The consequences are still not felt in Serbia, although the influx of refugees has intensified since the beginning of the year. About 27,000 refugees entered the country, about 150 per day. Of them, 38 percent are Afghans,” said Đurović.
According to him, Serbia should look for long-term solutions, and one of them should certainly be the expansion of reception capacities.
He added that Serbia has good temporary protection that guarantees a basic set of human rights while refugees stay in the country and added that this protection should be applied if there is a massive influx of people.
Đurović sees the announcements of Kosovo and Albania, which offered temporary refuge to refugees from Afghanistan in their countries, as a factor that “could potentially threaten the Balkan route”.
He assessed that these calls could motivate refugees to take that route, but added that none of that could be implemented without coordination with the EU and neighboring countries.
On Sunday, after 20 years, the Taliban regained power in Afghanistan, and the then president of that country, Ashraf Ghani, admitted defeat and left the country.