Serbia + 8 more

UNHCR Serbia Update, 9 - 12 February 2017

Situation Report
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  • The overall number of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants counted in Serbia stood around 7,700. Over 6,600 (86%) of them were sheltered in 17 heated government facilities (below chart refers). The rest were staying rough in Belgrade city centre or the North.

  • A second tragic death by hypothermia of a refugee/migrant during this winter was confirmed. Both victims had been abandoned by smugglers in the hills/woods near the Serbian-Bulgarian border. After a woman from Iraq died close to the border with Bulgaria in mid-December, authorities now retrieved the body of a man from Pakistan near Pirot, who had gone missing at the end of January. The authorities assisted with the transfer of his remains to relatives in Western Europe.

  • Efforts to resolve the situation of refugee/migrant men and boys squatting in Belgrade city centre progressed.
    UNHCR continued supporting the rapid refurbishment of capacities in the Obrenovac centre. Small groups of men and boys used governmental transport from the city centre, while some also went to Obrenovac spontaneously, requesting accommodation. Now Obrenovac accommodates 765 refugee/migrant men, including 345 boys. Accordingly, fewer men and boys appear to be sleeping rough in Belgrade city centre. At the same time, UNHCR and partners transported 36 newly registered asylum seekers from Belgrade city centre to asylum centres.

  • Hungarian authorities admitted 19 asylum seekers into procedures at the Hungarian “transit zones” near Kelebija and Horgos border crossings. During the same period, over 70 asylum-seekers informed UNHCR and partners to have been denied access to asylum procedures in Hungary but instead been collectively expelled back into Serbia, with some alleging maltreatment by Hungarian police. As per its global protection mandate,
    UNHCR also continues following up on reports of unlawful expulsion of asylum-seekers from Serbia to Bulgaria and FYR Macedonia.

  • In February, 184 intentions to seek asylum in Serbia were registered.