On International Migrants Day, Serbia has 4,100 migrants in reception centers and about 300 who are on the move close to the country’s borders.
Since the beginning of the migrant crisis in 2015, more than a million people have passed through Serbia. The Balkan route is now closed, but refugees are still arriving.
There are currently 4,100 migrants in five permanent asylum centers and in 13 reception centers in Serbia, while these facilities can provide for 6,000 people.
“We welcomed this winter without any major difficulties. We started the year with more than 8,500 people, 2,500 of whom were outside the centers, in inhumane and inhuman conditions,” Commissioner for Refugees Vladimir Cucic told RTS, and added: “Now we have 4,100 migrants in the centers and around 300 in Belgrade, Subotica, Sid.”
He added that the centers are all functioning and not overcrowded – “there is heating, children are vaccinated and attending school.”
Commenting on the fact that there are still some migrants staying in parks, Cucic said that these people are being manipulated by “certain domestic and international organizations who are persuading them it is better to be in a park than in a warm reception center.”
International Organization for Migration head in Serbia Lidija Markovic recalled that there has never been more mobility at the global level and that today one in seven persons is a migrant.
We are witnessing, she continued, introduction of restrictive policies at borders, violations of human rights, people are left to smugglers.
“The International Organization for Migration has begun dialogue at a global level to redefine migration policies. Global dialogue implies better coordination among the states on a route, the countries of origin and the desired destinations,” she explained.
Markovic recalled that Serbia was open to dialogue with its neighbors and that it has been committed to a humane approach since the beginning of the migrant crisis.