Two sorts of camps
The Serbian government runs two sorts of camps for refugees and migrants, reception centres and residential camps for those wishing to make an asylum claim. There are also separate camps for families and for unaccompanied minors. In the town of Sid there’s a family camp reception centre which I have visited.
Outside of the camps
Right now the camps are locked down. The excuse being used is coronavirus, but there was an election at the weekend and it’s likely the camps were used as a political move too. There are some people outside of the camps who don’t want to be in them, or chose to leave in order to try and cross the border into Croatia or Romania. These are the people we have trying to help the most.
One of the tasks of No Name Kitchen is to collect violence and push back reports. A push back is when someone is forced back from Croatia or Romania into Serbia. It’s illegal. Once someone has got to the new country, they have the right to make an asylum application. Many of the push backs are violent, with border guards and police beating and robbing people before sending them back to Serbia.
The more I learn about politics and conflict, the more I realise how much Western Europe has to answer for. Not only are many people fleeing war and oppressive regimes caused or supported by the west, but people on the move (asylum seekers, refugees, migrants) are used as a political bargaining chip for Serbia to gain membership of the EU. Croatia, Hungary and Romania receive millions of Euros to keep people out using whatever methods are necessary. And this all happens with the knowledge and support of the west.
I will be staying in Šid until the end of July and will happily answer any questions anyone has. Comment below or send me a message, and stand by for more content. Follow Hannah the Traveller on facebook for more updates.