APC/CZA organization regularly visits camps and asylum centers in Serbia. Our legal team is responsible for providing relevant legal information, which is of great importance to migrants and refugees. Bearing in mind that valid information is not given to them in the majority of cases, the APC/CZA legal team is here to explain people their rights, which should not be denied to them.
Our organization also goes to the remote asylum centers, such as Sjenica, in the southwest of our country. People placed in the same camps then get the opportunity to be informed about the asylum procedure in Serbia, as well as to submit a request for asylum, and later present their reasons at a hearing and get the opportunity to have a decision made on their request for asylum, which is certainly in their best interest compared to an illegal and uncertain stay in the country.
Refugees and migrants are most often denied legal information, legal advice and legal assistance in the asylum camps and reception centers managed by the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration. Months usually pass before refugees in remote camps learn from the camp management that they can seek asylum, they have the right to a fair asylum procedure, and they can ask for someone to help them and get legal advice about their cases. Many of them never learn anything about their legal position, rights and obligations in Serbia, but faced with difficult conditions in the camps and uncertainty, they fall into the hands of smugglers and decide to leave Serbia and continue towards neighboring countries and the EU. As legally invisible, refugees are exposed to the dangers of becoming victims of corruption, violence, discrimination, sexual, labor or other exploitation while they reside de facto and illegally in the country, both from corrupt officials and from individuals or criminal groups who want to take advantage of their vulnerable position. No one cares about them and they are often just an unnecessary burden to the system that is often ignored.
Precisely because of this, our legal assistance and intervention is necessary and very important. Without knowing one’s rights and obligations, the possibility to protect oneself, without legitimate and efficient legal procedure, legal representatives and independent legal assistance, there can be no question of realizing the right to asylum, protection of refugees, non-discrimination and a functional system of accepting refugees and the asylum procedure.