27. Dezember 2017 · Kommentare deaktiviert für „Serbia Police Remove Protesting Refugees From Croatia Border“ · Kategorien: Balkanroute, Kroatien, Serbien · Tags:

BalkanInsight | 27.12.2017

Serbia has removed about 150 refugees who were protesting on the border with Croatia, demanding admission to the country, accusing them of abusing its hospitality.

Sven Milekic

Serbian police on Tuesday evening removed around 150 refugees, mostly from the Middle East, who were protesting on the border with Croatia demanding to be allowed into Croatia on their way to Western Europe, regional N1 media hub reported on Wednesday.

Serbia’s Commissioner for Refugees and Migration, Vladimir Cucic, on Wednesday told the Serbian news agency Beta that the refugees were taken to a refugee centre in Bela Palanka, in south-eastern Serbia.

According to an NGO cooking food for the refugees, No Name Kitchen, no incidents occurred when the police gathered the refugees in buses and took them away.

Cucic accused the refugees of abusing “the visa-free regime and hospitality of Serbia”, and said they were staging protests with the help of the “anarchists and volunteers”.

“We’re speaking about arrogant people who used the visa-free regime and abused it, came to Serbia and expected that Croatia would bow to them,” he said.

He added that these mostly Iranian migrants “don’t want to wait their turn” to continue their passage towards the West, thereby harming others who wait.

Cucic discarded their claims about bad accommodation in the refugee centre at Principovci, near the Serbian town of Sid, on the border with Croatia.

“If they don’t like it, then they may go wherever they want. There is no picking, one goes where there is place, and Serbia is not obliged to … fulfil their wishes. Whoever wants and has the ability, may go,” he concluded.

While the refugees demanded that Croatia allow them in, Serbia’s Refugee Commissariat told BIRN that some NGOs had, in effect, created the problem, by wrongly informing the refugees that if they protested on the border in large numbers over Christmas, the Croatian authorities would let them in.

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No Name Kitchen | 28.12.2017

Criminalizing Humanitarian Aid

The aftermath of the Christmas protest

The refugees in Serbia are desperate, they have been way too many months, some of them even more than a year living in camps, with no rights, no papers and no options of being free citizens. They are in a limbo in Serbia, the European borders are closed and they get no response to their asylum demands. On December 25th, they hung on to one of those dreams that all humans need to believe.

That day, refugees coming from the whole Serbia decided to start a peaceful protest in the border with Tovarnik, the Croatian border. There was the rumor among them that during Christmas, since these are the days of peace, love and hope, the EU would open the borders again. That would have been a step closer for them to be free citizens. One may think this is an utopia, but in desperate situations, people tend to believe in miracles.

No Name Kitchen reacted to this emergency situation, we were witnesses of their meeting, including women and kids, and we asked the Serbian police whether we could satisfy their basic needs: tents, food, water, basic medical treatments. They accepted. Two days after, the peaceful protest was dissolved by the anti riot units. Under the winter cold, the demonstration started by the refugees was over.

The Commissariat for Refugees (KIRS), the organism responsible for the refugee care, accused us in several media of being the root cause of the protest. According to them, we made everyone believe the borders would be open because it was Christmas. It’s not true. We just offered our help when we realized that lots of families would sleep outside with nothing to protect them from the cold and the police allowed us to. We gave them hot food, blankets and tents.

We are very disappointed to see an organism with such responsibility in this humanitarian crisis that Europe is living, assuming the refugees don’t have the capacity of thinking by themselves and be self organized. We should not forget that, even though some people see them as disabled, they are people who invested their lifetime savings to get a backpack on and travel half of the word with the hope of a better future, and they did all this with adverse conditions, since their passport it’s useless when trying to cross the European borders. They are very brave and in this occasion they dared to sit next to the Croatian border, in spite of the cold, to claim, peacefully, the rights that should already be theirs.

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