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World Refugee Day

In the year 2000 United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution with which declared the African Refugee Day as the World Refugee Day on June 20th. World Refugee Day is celebrated in the memory of those people who were forced to leave their homes due to wars, fear of persecution, violence and conflicts, but also as a support to those who are still facing similar problems.
Today, Serbia also faces with an increasing number of migrants who pass through our country. One number of them who fled from the persecution in their countries of origin seek asylum in Serbia. Their position is extremely sensitive because they have no personal documents, asylum identity cards, they have no money, they do not know the language, customs and Serbian procedures and regulations. They are also more and more faced with domestic citizens who should be acquaint with the problem of modern exile and the fate of people who fled war and violence in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan.

Migrants who pass through our country still do not see Serbia as a country of destination, and those who get the idea of staying in Serbia very often give up because of duration of the asylum procedure and leave before getting the final answer. The number of people who got asylum in Serbia is very small and only 15 people have received refugee status or subsidiary protection since the establishment of asylum system in 2008. All this indicates that in the asylum system in Serbia should be made some fundamental changes in order to get these people out of the gray zone in which they are due to the inadequate legal regulations. Number of refugees who come to Serbia is increasing from year to year. Only in 2013, 5,065 people sought asylum, while in this year more than 3,700 people sought asylum until the early June.

Serbia is facing a new challenges – how to accommodate large number of refugees, how to provide them with adequate reception, how to enable fast and efficient procedure for granting refugee protection, how to conduct the integration of refugees and properly inform the local community and the citizens about the new refugees, who are not refugees from the former Yugoslavia or from this area, but people from distant countries guided by intercontinental migration routes through Turkey, Greece and further to the West. From the response of our society to these questions will also depend the future of refugees in Serbia and further progress and character of Serbian society in whole.

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