[29.07.2017] number of refugees in Serbia descending & involuntary relocations

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According to the UNHCR reports 5200 people on the move and asylum seekers are currently living in Serbia. Since March 2017 that number is descending constantly coming along with a decreasing number of migrants arriving in Serbia primarily from Bulgaria and Macedonia. After the eviction and destruction of the „barracks“* in Belgrade in May 2017 more than 1000 refugees who were living there have been relocated from the city center to official camps all over Serbia. Since then most of the people are accommodated in the 18 asylum and transit centers**, approximated less then 200 people are staying without registration outside of the camps, mainly in Belgrade’s city centre. As Serbia is currently able to provide 6000 hard-shelters in total the state is now organizing reallocations to fit the capacities of the camps (which varies from less then 100 up to 1000 places) after many camps were overcrowded during winter and spring. Therefore people staying in crowded shelters get transferred to not fully occupied ones, as well as people who used to life in the transit center in Sid (Croatian border) which got shut, people who get new registered and people who get picked up by police without valid registration. The registration in a camp expires when a person is absent for more then 72 hours. Besides numerous of those who got accommodated in the course of the barracks’ eviction still do not have a proper registration. Requests for a (re)registration for a special camp are usually disregarded. As the conditions in the different centers are very unequally in terms of facilities, favourable locations, leadership and structure, freedom of movement etc. and as most people still wish to move on to other countries many people are afraid of an involuntary relocation, which is why in extreme cases several decide to stay outside of official camps on the street. The center in Presovo (Macedonian border) for example which has a capacity of 1000 spaces and is only half occupied is dreaded as a camp where many people get transferred to and which is known as practically closed and starting point for illegal pushbacks to Macedonia. Lacks of hygienic facilities, proper food distribution, physical or psychic violation, sexual abuse are reported regularly from several camps. Transfers are also used as punishment for different kinds of violation of rules which also creates tough atmospheres in the affected camps. The two centers close to Belgrade’s city center (Obrenovac TC and Krnjaca AC) for example are popular because of their advantageous location but Obrenovac TC is known for big and crowded sleeping rooms (up to 42 beds), a suspect, corrupt leadership and destination for punishment relocations for example from Krnjaca AC.

*area behind the main bus station in Belgrade city centre where from autumn 2016 up to 1300 migrants without valid papers stayed under inhuman conditions in underused warehouses, old wagons etc.
** There are five “Asylum centres” (AC) in Serbia and 13 temporary centres that are called “Transit centres” (TC) or “Reception centres” (RC)
Link: location of the 18 Asylum-,Transit- & Reception Centers in Serbia (July 2017

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