NGOs are raising the alarm: Refugees on Balkans beaten, robbed and maltreated

Written by on April 6, 2017 in Europe - Comments Off on NGOs are raising the alarm: Refugees on Balkans beaten, robbed and maltreated

Three NGOs are harshly criticizing the treatment of refugees on the Balkans. Oxfam, the Belgrade Center of Human Rights (BCHR) and the Macedonian Association of Young Lawyers (MYLA) will release a report later today, for which 140 asylum seekers were surveyed.

In the report it says, refugees who had fled wars, persecution and poverty, were beaten, robbed and maltreated on the Balkans, including in Bulgaria. Violence and brutality characterized what was going on in the region, the document reads.

The three NGOs are demanding from Serbia, Macedonia, Hungary and Bulgaria to uphold the standards of the Human Rights. Offenders had to be made accountable.

According to the report, policemen in Bulgaria stole all valuables from a group of refugees and took them back across the border afterwards. Refugees in Hungary were forced to sit in the snow naked, while police officers poured cold water over them.

Again in Bulgaria, a man from Afghanistan was locked into a jail cell, which seemed like a cage, for three days without food.

Crimes were committed by officers in Croatia as well, the report says. Border police had taken away clothing and shoes from migrants, and forced them to walk back across the border into Serbia, while beating them with clubs.

On top of these kinds of crimes, refugees on the Balkans did not have access to fair asylum proceedings.

Some of the accusations in the NGO report are not new. In the past year, since the so-called Balkan Route was officially closed, Bulgaria was accused of illegally jailing teenage refugees. Also the violence and robberies on the part of border police officers had been mentioned before.

On top of that, blunt racism towards refugees and threats against those who help refugees was and still is a big issue in Bulgaria. The most prominent case of the past weeks was the one involving the Catholic priest Paolo Cortese, who received death threats in Belene for helping Syrian refugees and then left Bulgaria as a result.

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