Da li voliš da pomažeš drugima u nevolji? Želiš da pružiš podršku ljudima koji beže od rata i nasilja, a koji su se na svom putu našli u Srbiji? Želiš da slobodno vreme koje imaš provedeš radeći nešto korisno i za sebe i za druge?

Centar za zaštitu i pomoć tražiocima azila (APC/CZA) poziva sve koji žele pruže direktnu podršku tražiocima azila i migrantima, doprinesu stvaranju tolerantnog i otvorenog društva i suzbijanju predrasuda i ksenofobije da se priključe mreži APC/CZA volontera.

Volonter može biti svako ko je punoletan, ima vremena i želje da pomogne ljudima u nevolji i nema predrasuda prema ljudima drugih nacija, vera ili rasa.

Ukoliko imaš želju da pomogneš i vremena da se aktivno uključiš u redovne aktivnosti Centra za zaštitu i pomoć tražiocima azila (APC/CZA) kontaktiraj nas za više informacija.


Balkan visitors

theeconomistAsylum-seekers in Serbia and Kosovo

THERE is something odd about seeing Afghans and Somalis stumbling about in the snow in western Serbia. Ivorians and Congolese are no less exotic in Kosovo. In fact, they are just some of the thousands of illegal migrants pouring through the western Balkans in a desperate search for a better life in the more prosperous countries of the European Union.

In the new edition of The Economist I report on the illegal crossing of tens of thousands of migrants across the Greek border with Turkey. In the past many found work in Greece or were able to procure mostly fake documents which could get them into other countries. A favoured practice was to get oneself smuggled on to a lorry at Patras or Igoumenitsa and head for a ferry to Italy.

Things are different today. Although Greece is within Europe's border-free Schengen zone it has no physical frontier with any other Schengen country, and flying out of the country has become almost impossible thanks to tight controls. So illegal migrants have begun to seek new land routes, many of them via the western Balkans. The main one leads from Greece to Hungary, via Macedonia and Serbia.

No one can put a figure on the migrants flowing northwards this way. But in Serbia, since 2008 the number applying for asylum has risen from 51 to over 3,000 last year. The vast majority seek asylum simply to avoid problems traversing the country, says Rados Djurovic of Serbia's Asylum Protection Centre.


The issue is becoming a minor nightmare for local officials. Authorities have to plod through the procedures of processing applicants only to find that by the time they need to speak to them they have long departed.

As part of its bid to join the European Union Serbia has modernised its asylum laws. This has seen the refurbishment of an 84-bed centre for asylum-seekers in the little town of Banja Koviljaca on the Bosnian border. The numbers in the centre fluctuate, but Robert Lesmajster, the manager, recently said there were 80 residents, plus 119 linked asylum-seekers living in town.

Bidding for asylum gives applicants access to health care and time to arrange passage to Hungary or through Croatia. Most importantly, it gives them an identity document. This gives them access to wire services from where they can pick up money sent by family or friends back home; a useful alternative to travelling with wodges of cash.

In Serbia 60% of asylum seekers are Afghans. Anosh, an Afghan in Banja Koviljaca, told me that he fled Afghanistan because his uncle wanted to kill him over a land dispute. He and his fellow Afghans have little to do. They watch Afghan television and walk around town. Anosh teaches his friends English.

A Pakistani called Hashim told me that he wanted to go to Germany. "I have no home, no job," he said, when I asked him why he had left. It had taken him two and a half years to get here, he said, via Iran, Turkey, Greece and Macedonia. Many of the migrants work along the way to pay for the next stage of their journey.

Mr Lesmajster says keeping his centre clean is a struggle. Today he is dealing with an Afghan woman who claims to be the mother of a little girl who had arrived with another woman. He reads the riot act to a drunken Somali, who shows me a small lesion on his leg and demands to know if I have heard of Al Shabab, Somalia's Islamist militia, whom he claims beat him up.

Mr Lesmajster says he and Serbia are respecting the law by looking after these people, but you can tell his sympathy is wearing thin. They will all be gone in a few months, he says. "They abuse the law. They are fake asylum-seekers."

Kosovo has also opened a centre for asylum-seekers, although the numbers here are much smaller than in Serbia. In 2009 there were 31 official asylum-seekers in Kosovo. In 2010 that rose to 267 but in 2011 it fell to 189.

That may be because Kosovo has moved to plug a hole in its immigration system. The country does not have a visa system. Some migrants, wise to this, used to fly to Pristina from Istanbul. That loophole has now been closed: an Afghan or Congolese coming to Kosovo will be asked for a certified letter of invitation. If the invited person absconds the issuer of the letter can be held responsible.

According to Islam Caka at the interior ministry, 30% of migrants in Kosovo came via Macedonia, 22% via Serbia and 5% via Albania. Of those 71% are from Asia and 29% from Africa. The biggest single number are Afghans who make up 35% of the asylum-seekers in Kosovo.

Fatmire Ismaili helps run the asylum centre in the Germia district. During the Kosovo war she was a refugee herself, given asylum in Britain. She is sympathetic and teaches some of the children Albanian, but, as in Serbia, few of the migrants are interested in staying for long. They are fed and looked after but constantly produce new problems. Ms Ismaili mentions the difficulties she has finding malaria medicine for Congolese victims.

The stories some migrants tell are fluid and inconsistent. Khalid, a Tunisian, told me that he had arrived via Albania and wanted to go to France. But Ms Ismaili said he had told her that he had lived in Montenegro for several years. He spoke what used to be called Serbo-Croatian. Mariam Diaby told me she was a Muslim whose people had been attacked by Christians in Côte d'Ivoire. But earlier she had told Ms Ismaili that she was a Christian.

She would work if she could, she says. "Someone else" had bought her a ticket to Kosovo from Istanbul. "My mother was killed. I just wanted to flee. I did not even know this country existed."

For the last 20 years people from the Balkans have fled to other parts of Europe and the rest of the world. Today several thousand Serbian and Kosovan people seeking asylum in richer lands are returned home every year. It is perhaps a sad sign that Serbia and Kosovo are now importing as well as exporting illegal migrants.