STATISTICS AND HIGHLIGHTS
Strong criticism of new restrictive practices adopted by Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, and fYR Macedonia, was articulated by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on 25/02, UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon, and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights on 26/02. Please find attached all statements in full.
Developments in Serbia bear witness that these new practices, introduced uncoordinated by law-enforcement in the five countries after the meeting of the Police Chiefs on 18 February, have neither improved the situation of the refugees nor of the countries. UNHCR continues to receive credible reports of push-backs, expulsions and refusal of access to territory or fair and efficient asylum procedures on arbitrary grounds, police brutality, family separations, and the misinformation of stranded refugee populations, increasingly affecting also refugee women and children from Syrian and Iraq. These developments led to a tangible deterioration of refugees’ humanitarian situation and heightened the risk not only of their exploitation and abuse by smugglers, traffickers, and other criminals but also of serious tensions and security incidents along the Balkan route.
589 (0 on 26/02; 158 on 27/02 and 431 on 28/02) refugees arrived from fYR Macedonia. 34 Yazidi refugees, including women and children, arrived near Dimitrovgrad but were returned to Bulgaria.
752 (0 on 26/02; 397 on 27/02 and 355 on 28/02) refugees departed to Croatia.
On 29/02 an unaccompanied refugee child, which had been under the care of UNHCR and the social protection system of Serbia, departed on orderly resettlement to Sweden. UNHCR is grateful to the Government of Sweden for this speedy act of refugee protection and international solidarity.
589 (0 on 26/02; 397 on 27/02 and 355 on 28/02) refugees from Syria and Iraq, with new registration documents, were assisted at the Miratovac Refugee Aid Point (RAP) upon arrival from fYR Macedonia.
Police, Gendarmerie, IOM, Philanthropy, Remar, Medical Center, UNHCR, MSF, DRC, World Vision and Indigo were assisting them at the RAP.UNHCR/DRC/SPDE distributed three UNHCR blankets, two raincoats, 21 winter boots, three winter jackets and 399 water bottles, while UNICEF and Philanthropy/CRS distributed other non-food items (NFIs). The health clinic inside the RAP well as UNICEF/DRC child friendly space were open.
UNHCR-funded buses transported 480 refugees from Miratovac village to the Registration Centre (RC) in Presevo where they were registered. 32 Persons with Special Needs (PSN) were prioritized for registration.
UNHCR, SCRM, Police, Medical Centre, ADRA, Red Cross, IOM, UNICEF/DRC, Caritas, DRC, BCM/CRS and Remar assisted refugees 24/7 at the RC.
Natan, Humedica, Care international/Nexus, SOS Children, OXFAM 484, Global Medic and Indigo were present during the day Save the Children, APC, Youth for Refugees, Atina, Border Free, Mercy Corps and MSF were active outside the RC.
UNHCR and partners distributed two UNHCR blankets, seven winter boots and 265 water bottles. Public Doctors, MSF, Humedica and Natan treated 75 and Health Center Vranje provided reproductive health services to refugees.
The UNICEF/DRC/CSW child friendly space hosted 92 children and 36 women. 56 refugees who had been deported from Croatia/Slovenia outside formal readmission agreements, have been accommodated since 26/02 initially in Miratovac RAP and then in the Presevo RC, where they are staying in the SCRM dormitory and UNHCR Refugee Housing Units.
On 28 November a group of 34 Yazidi refugees from Iraq, including seven children and one pregnant woman, were denied access to asylum procedures in Dimitrovgrad and returned to Bulgaria.
Close to 300 (258 on 26/02; 268 on 27/02 and 121 on 28/01) refugees/migrants were assisted in Belgrade by UNHCR partners. Most were from Morocco, Algeria or Pakistan, with fewer from Afghanistan, Syria or Iraq. Over 20 were in the city centre at night.
Many sought aid in food, clothes, use of internet and referrals to various services, including hospitals and registration. SCRM, UNHCR/DRC, Red Cross and Refugee Aid Miksalište assisted them. Asylum Info Centre remained open 24/7. Caritas distributed food and clothes at the park near the railway. MSF offered primary health care and distributed NFIs.
752 (0 on 26/02; 397 on 27/02 and 355 on 28/02) refugees departed to Croatia on two trains.
456 refugees were denied boarding the two trains by Croatian authorities, around 40% were young children. The stranded refugees were becoming increasingly frustrated with uncertainty and lack of solutions. The three sites in the West remained fully occupied and UNHCR and partners strengthened efforts to provide better facilities, including hot meals, showers and internet access.
At Sid train station UNHCR/HCIT assisted refugees during the boarding and distributed 211 UNHCR blankets, 2,200 WFP HEB, 3,360 water bottles, 293 winter jackets, 120 boots, and 115 UNHCR bags. IDC/Sid Health Centre and WAHA treated 181 refugees. Between 500 and 800 refugees were hosted per day in the Sid RAP during the reporting period.
In Adasevci RAP, UNHCR, SCRM, Police, APC, Red Cross Serbia, MSF, CRS/Divac Foundation, BCM, Remar, OM and Czech Volunteers assisted refugees 24/7; World Vision, Intersos, Caritas, TDH, EHO, DRC and NSHC during the day. MSF provided medical assistance to 152 refugees and BCM/Sid Health Centre treated 136. The UNICEF/ WV/CSW child friendly space hosted 288 children and 135 mothers. The Red Cross and Caritas distributed food on buses. Remar offered hot tea and soup. CRS/Divac Foundation distributed adult and children’s winter clothes and footwear.
In Principovac RAP, over 300 refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria were hosted until Sunday evening when authorities organised a transfer to 234 refugees to the Reception Centre in Presevo. MSF, Mercy Corps and Czech Volunteers assisted refugees in the RAP. Remar offered hot tea and soup. UNHCR, IOM and SCRM counselled them on asylum procedures in Serbia and/or Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) programme.
During the reporting period 52 refugees in Principovac and Sid expressed interest in seeking asylum in Serbia and twelve in Assisted Voluntary Return.