The situation at the border crossings Gevgelija and Kumanovo for the period 30.05.2016 - 05.06.2016 08 June 2016
The weekly report on the situation at the border crossings Gevgelija and Kumanovo includes the following topics: Available facilities and conditions at the camp and Institutional treatment. The report can be downloaded at the following link.
Available facilities and conditions
There were 141 refugees in the camp at the start of the week, a number which declined to 137 by the end of the week, since several of them were relocated to the Shelter Center for Asylum Seekers - Vizbegovo.
The refugees complain of the high temperatures in the camp. Air conditioners are placed only in some parts of the containers/bungalows in the camp, and priority is given to those part where small children are accommodated.
The refugees have been issued (barcode) cards for humanitarian aid (food) and cards which serve as means of identification and contain their data (name and surname, a photo, country of origin/arrival, date of birth and date of issuing). The cards state that the person is "Temporarily accommodated in the Temporary Transit Shelter Center - Vinojug, Gevgelija".
A total of 72 refugees who have been caught up down illegal roads by the police have been deported back to Greece.
All of the janitors have been dismissed in the course of the week. Consequently, a decrease in the level of hygiene in the toilets has been observed.
The Ombudsman of the Republic of Macedonia recently started paying regular weekly visits to the camp. On 31.05.2016, representatives of the Ombudsman paid a visit to the Vinojug Camp in Gevgelija.
In the course of the week, 19 refugees who expressed intention to seek asylum to the Republic of Macedonia were transported to the Shelter Center for Asylum Seekers in Vizbegovo.
Taking into account the previous obstructions to the right to seek asylum, the Helsinki Committee commends this step and encourages the competent institutions to continue with this practice.
On 04.06.2016, one person with origin from Pakistan arrived in the camp and informed that he had been sent there by police officers from Gevgelija. The person was taken over by IOM since he expressed desire to be taken back to Greece.
Available facilities and conditions
The number of refugees in the camp amounts to around 180.
The camp infrastructure is also upgraded on daily basis. The ground is being prepared for the setting up of new containers. Some of the old bungalows are also being replaced with new ones.
Two brothers from Morocco arrived in the camp on 01.06.2016, aged 22 and 23. One of them was completely blind, while the other one was guiding him along his way. They fell victim to smugglers that they paid 1400 EUR each in Greece. The smugglers left them in a wood in Macedonia which they were unable to exit from for 6 days. Then they fell into a river, but an old man helped them out. They arrived in the camp in Tabanovce on foot and they were provided with aid.
During the night hours of 04.06.2016, a smaller group of refugees from the camp tried to get on a cargo train. However, the train started moving, and some of the refugees did not manage to get on, falling and getting some bone fractures. Some of them were taken to a hospital, while the others were taken back to the camp.
In the course of the week, one person originating from Syria who is residing in the camp, caused a fire in the camp in protest. Consequently, the police officers in the camp, in order to punish the person, used a vehicle to move him out of the camp and left him in the open field. They told him that he is no longer welcome in the camp and not to return. Although there is reasonable suspicion that the person committed a crime, the police officers acted contrary to the legal provisions and criminal principles when it comes to dealing with a person caught in flagranti.
The situation at the Shelter Centers in the Republic of Macedonia
From the available information, on 05.06.2016, it was registered that 33 refugees were held (detained) at the Shelter Center for Foreigners - Gazi Baba, 45 refugees were accommodated in the Shelter Center for Asylum Seekers in Vizbegovo, while the Safe House (sheltering vulnerable groups) accommodated 12 refugees.
Two criminal and legal events were registered this week - which occurred on 01.06.2016. In the first case, a cargo vehicle was discovered in the residential area of village Dobroshane in the Kumanovo region, where 39 refugees were found, without any identification documents. It is symptomatic that 21 of them were juveniles. 3 adult people from the group will be taken to the Shelter Center for Foreigners in Gazi Baba, Skopje, while the rest of them will be taken to STC Vinojug, Gevgelija. In the second case, one refugee from Morocco was found in a cargo vehicle in Demir Kapija. In both cases the drivers were not found, and the Ministry of Interior is investigating the cases.
This report is made possible by the generous support of the Foundation Open Society Institute (FOSI) within the project „Improvement of the rights protection for migrants and asylum seekers in the Republic of Macedonia“. The contents are the responsibility of the Helsinki Committee for Human rights of the Republic of Macedonia and do not necessarily reflect the views of FOSI.