Migrant’s plight in frozen Belgrade,
by Paulo Nunes dos Santos
More than a year after the closure of the Western Balkan Route, the main land corridor used by many thousands of people fleeing to Europe, the situation remains desperate for many migrants, trapped in a number of countries that have closed borders or which have decided to detain those who are not authorized to transpose them.
This route, much used by those trying to reach Austria, as the first step in trying to get into the country by so many desired, Germany, has been in a deadlock since March 2016, with the borders of Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia being closed, and with them, thousands of lives on hold.
Only in Serbia, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), states that in April 2017, were registered in the country 7364 people, coming mainly from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria.
In the incisive and clarifying work of Paulo Nunes dos Santos is portrayed the harshness and insalubrity of who tries to escape to the winter in Belgrade, in makeshift shelters, where hundreds of people try to survive in extreme conditions. These unhealthy places offer, though, less distrust than the Serbian government camps, incapable of responding quickly to asylum seekers. In an attempt to cross the border into Hungary, the main fear is to face forced deportation back to Serbia, sometimes accompanied by physical abuse, thus remaining indefinitely in the official camps.
After the winter, and for those who managed to survive it, is thus facilitated the entrance in this game of the cat and the mouse for smugglers, that once again, taking advantage of situations of despair, put many people in imminent risk, on dangerous and often deadly routes, now trying to enter the EU through Croatia or Romania.