Serbia: Inter-Agency Operational Update (October-December 2018)
- 2,237 Registered intentions to seek asylum in Serbia
- 36% of registered refugees and migrants were minors
- 124 Applications for asylum
- 2 Persons granted refugee status
0 Persons granted subsidiary protection
The number of new refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants counted as present in Serbia increased by 14% to 4,470 on 31 December, of which 4,200 (94%) were housed in 16 governmental centres (increase from 3,400 accommodated and 3,900 counted as present in the country overall at end-September 2018, compared to 4,050 accommodated and 4,300 present at endDecember 2017). Towards the end of the year, colder weather and temperatures caused increasing numbers of refugees/migrants to seek shelter in official accommodation centres; still, over 250 (decrease by 50%) of them, mainly males, could be counted in border areas and in Belgrade city centre at the end of the year.
- New arrivals continued at high level though slightly decreased from the second quarter. Oct-Dec UNHCR and partners observed/assisted 5,084 newly arriving refugees/migrants/asylum-seekers (as compared to 6,963 during July-Sept).
- The proportion of unaccompanied or separated children amongst new arrivals remained very high, challenging first reception and registration as well as transport, accommodation, guardianship and other services.
- On 17 October, the decision of the Government of Serbia to reintroduce visas for Iranian nationals entered into effect.
- On 23 October, some 300 mainly male residents of Adaševci and Principovac Reception/Transit Centres peacefully gathered at Batrovci border crossing demanding to cross into Croatia. Apparently, their move was triggered by rumours that the Croatian border would be opened. Having realized that these rumours were untrue and having been counselled by the Serbian Commissariat for Refugees and Migration (SCRM) and partners, they accepted the offer of the SCRM to be transported back to their respective centres.
- Tragic accidents again illustrated the dangers of the current situation of mixed movements of people. On 14 November, a young man from Syria died in a hospital in Belgrade despite receiving all possible treatment, as reportedly he had not been able to properly treat an injury sustained on the way to Serbia, resulting in major complications. In the night between 18 and 19 December, a young man from Tunisia was electrocuted and subsequently died while he was trying to climb a train wagon at Šid train station. On 21 December, three foreign men locked in a cargo train, who could hardly breathe, were found by the authorities in Šid train station and provided medical assistance.
- Authorities, international and civil society organisations organized various festive events for the refugee/migrant children across the country and distributed New Year’s gifts to the children.