Source: Al Jazeera Balkans
Belgrade, Šid, 03 July 2019 – It’s all too common to see unaccompanied minor migrants arrive in Serbia, convinced they will be able to make it to Western Europe alone. Unfortunately, the migration crisis is nowhere near over, and many of these unaccompanied minors can be found in unsafe places near Serbia’s borders. For example, our team recently discovered an abandoned factory in Šid, near the Serbia/Croatia border, where we found thirty migrants, most of whom were Afghani and underage. Of the boys we found in this abandoned factory, the youngest minor was only nine years old.
Seeing boys this young trying to reach Europe alone is daunting, especially when one factors in the testimonies of police brutality that exists along the Croatian and Hungarian borders. Radoš Đurović, director of the Asylum Protection Center, articultates these worries when he discusses the “injuries that were inflicted on [the migrant boys],” claiming that they were “beaten, their property was destroyed, their mobile phones and money were taken away, they were often treated inhumanely and degradingly.” Ivan Gerginov from the Commissariat for Refugees adds to Djurović’s sentiment, claiming that “the Croats are guarding the Serbian border well and it is difficult to pass… now, they do not let anyone in, whichmeans these people will waste many years of their lives in Serbia, waiting for the chance to cross the border.“
Rados Djurovic says that APC/CZA is on the ground daily and its employees are monitoring the boundaries along which, unfortunately, daily push backs are taking place. APC estimates that between 50 and 60 people are illegally returned from Croatia to Serbia on a daily basis. Moreover, the situation along the Bosnian border is complicated as there are also illegal push backs, and the same situation is on the border with Hungary, where people are constantly being pushed back ilegally.
According to the information provided by the Commissariat for Refugees of the Republic of Serbia, there are approximately 3,000 people living in 16 reception centers in the territory of Serbia. It is estimated that between 500 and 1000 people live outside of the centers, in places like the abandoned factory near Šid.