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    • Underaged Asylum Seekers in Serbia: At the Verge of Dignity - presentation of report

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    • Date: 01 June 2011
      Group 484 has presented the report "Underaged Asylum Seekers in Serbia: at the Verge of Dignity". Report is available for free download.

      In 2008, 77 requests for asylum have been presented to authorities in Serbia, 275 in the following year, and 522 in 2010. For this great speed with which new migrants started to arrive following political upheaveal in North Africa, authorities were not prepared. To make matters more difficult, the report states how this number of asylum seekers is likely to increase as Serbia comes closer to EU membership.

      Coordinator of the working group on asylum in Group 484, Miroslava Jelacic, said that the number of asylum requests presented by underaged persons has also increased and that in 2010 159 juveniles were registered migrants. "First three months into 2011, and the Centre for minor asylum seekers has accommodated fifteen children." She added that the infrastructure and institutional capacity for the reception of asylum seekers was satisfactory right up to 2009, but has become insufficient.

      Director of the Institute for Children and Youth in Belgrade, Dragan Orbovic, explained how the lack of money forced this institution to, instead of accommodating 12 underaged asylum seekers, reduce the capacity to eight beds. If there is no financial support, after July this number will have to be further reduced to six, said Orbovic, adding that 80 percent of the money for the Centre comes from donations.

      President of the Centre for Children's Rights, Ivana Stevanovic, urged the City of Belgrade to provide more space for accommodation of underaged asylum seekers. Deputy Ombudsman, Tamara Luksic-Orlandic, said that Serbia must be ready to welcome an expected influx of asylum seekers in the future. "As a country aspiring to membership in the European Union, Serbia must respect EU standards and provide better conditions for the accommodation of asylum seekers. Special attention should be given to minors in that respect," said Luksic-Orlandic.

      The report on the status of underaged asylum seekers in Serbia is the first product of the work group for asylum, consisted of Miroslava Jelačić (Group 484), Jovana Zorić (Belgrade Centre for Human Rights), Rastko Brajković (Initiative for Development and Cooperation), and Marko Savković (Belgrade Centre for Security Policy). Also, this report was created as a result of a broader research about the status and the exercise of rights to asylum in the Republic of Serbia, as part of the “European-Serbian Cooperation in the Area of Forced Migrations” project conducted by Group 484. The final goal of the project is the preparation of the thematic policy proposal that will represent the basis for advocacy activities of the civic organizations, be it afore Serbian institutions, be it afore the bodies of the EU. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Group 484 and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the EU.

      The daily Danas also reported from the event, see http://www.danas.rs/danasrs/drustvo/raste_broj_ilegalnih_prelazaka_granice_.55.html?news_id=216546

      (Beta News Agency, 1. jun 2011.)

      Related topics:asylum, Serbia, underage, Rumunija
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