Asylum Protection Center appealed today to the Government of Serbia to pass an act on the temporary protection of refugees from Ukraine, which would regulate the rights and position of these persons while they are in our country.
Thus, more than 2,000 refugees currently fleeing the war in Ukraine would have right to the staying, housing, health care, education for their children, the right to work, and personal documents.
Radoš Đurović from Asylum Protection Center told for Tanjug today that the number of refugees from Ukraine will increase in the coming period and highlighted it is necessary to urgently regulate their position.
“They have the right to stay for 90 days without a visa, but they have no other rights and their position is not regulated differently. We appeal for health care and that reception be organized near or in urban areas in Serbia, where people can rely on the existing infrastructure” , said Đurović.
He pointed out that the situation in Europe indicates that other countries are ready to act in a similar way as well and that many in the region have already passed laws on the temporary protection of refugees.
“In the region, we already have Hungary, Croatia and Montenegro, which have passed their acts, and a directive on temporary protection at the EU level has been launched,” said Đurović and added that around 15 women and children are currently staying in the housing unit of the camp in Vranje. Also, hundreds and even thousands of refugees enter and pass through our country.
As he states, Serbia should not waste time, because, he says, it will come to a situation where people are in danger, and even if their position is threatened.
“That’s why we urgently asked for the appeal to be considered and for a decision to be made as soon as possible that will facilitate the staying of refugees from Ukraine in Serbia, as well as for the institutions to deal with this problem in an adequate way”, Đurović said.
He states that the main responsibility lies with the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration, which, he says, is not proactive.
Now, if all these people, more than 2,000 of them, would apply for asylum, the system would not be able to provide an efficient decision on their request”, said Đurović.
He stated that the refugees from Ukraine are culturally and temperamentally close to us, and that they feel they are in a friendly, Slavic environment.
“This is a novelty and a difference compared to refugees from Asia and Africa, who lost everything in their countries and are going to the west, to the EU to save themselves. This may not be the case here, because people have property in Ukraine,” said Đurović.
When asked how they are currently being helped in Serbia, Đurović replied that it is at the level of legal information and assistance of Asylum Protection Center, as well as thanks to the focused humanitarian help to those who need it.
“We have developed a mechanism of direct humanitarian aid for those in danger, that is, those who are looking for help. The first housing in the Commissariat accommodation started yesterday, so now it is up to the Commissariat to provide that accommodation and basic living conditions in the centers”, added Đurović.
He says that the refugees are staying with friends, relatives, some in hostels, while some are managing on their own.
However, the question is how long they can financially sustain such a life.
“Sooner or later, these people will have to receive help from the state, it is important to provide them with accommodation in urban areas, it is difficult to accommodate them in camps that are very far from urban areas,” said Đurović and added that there are 6,000 places throughout the country in camps, of which about 4,000 are filled with refugees from Asia and Africa.
Đurović points out that the situation in the region is being closely monitored, and states that, for example, in Hungary and Romania, systems are only now being established.
“The greatest burden of acceptance is borne by the citizens, private companies and local self-governments in Hungary and Romania, and we must be ready because some people may stay with us,” said Đurović, who said that the war increases the influx of refugees.
“The numbers are extremely large for a very short period. Until yesterday, more than 225,000 people passed through Hungary, over 100,000 entered Moldova, over 80,000 passed through Romania, and over 150,000 through Slovakia…”, Đurović stated.
He describes the Ukrainian crisis as rapid and unprecedented in European history.
“If the refugees continue to come and if they don’t have the means to cover their expenses, the situation will become very serious,” said Đurović in response to the question of whether Serbia is threatened by a greater number of refugees.