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EU-funded migrant camps in Serbia are sites of severe human rights violations, study finds

EU-FUNDED migrant camps in Serbia are the sites of severe human rights violations, a study published by human rights activists today says.

A study by migrant solidarity network No Name Kitchen (NNK) — which supports migrants (or “people on the move,” as NNK refers to them) in Serbia and across the Balkans — found the refugee camps and asylum centres there to be overcrowded and often unhygienic.

For example, at Adasevci camp, which is close to the Croatian border, NNK activists were shown photographs taken by those inside the camp of “clogged sinks, filthy toilets with broken facilities and unclean showers.”

The report says that the people on the move “reported that they spent days on end being unable to change their clothes and take a shower due to the poor services inside the camp.”

These conditions were mirrored across the country.

NNK’s report is based on observations made by its activists in the field as well as from collected testimonies from migrants in the camps between September to December 2023.

At that time, in October 2023, the Serbian and Hungarian governments had signed an agreement supposedly aimed at putting an end to human-smuggling.

However, what NNK found was a widespread police operation focused on systematically rounding up undocumented migrants in the north, and forcibly moving them to the south and east, away from the border with Hungary.

On November 1, the NNK team arrived at Subotica camp, near the Hungarian border, and found it completely empty apart from five people. They said the police arrived with five buses to move them to other locations.

“Witnesses described instances of physical violence, with batons employed against those attempting to run away,” the report says.

“According to the [migrants’] testimony, some people tried to run away through the fields. Police chased them and tried to shoot them. People were forcefully removed without even the possibility of collecting their belongings.”

Read the full report here: nonamekitchen.org/violence-and-neglect-in-serbian-refugee-camps-a-three-month-enquiry-sheds-light-on-eu-and-unhcr-complicity-in-human-right-violations-in-serbia.

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