Two days ago, Bulgaria was warned by Serbian officials to tighten up the border who, by the same time, announced deportations back to Bulgaria. Simultaneously, new rules seem now to implemented in Dimitrovgrad and Preševo. On the 19th of February, Serbia has stopped issuing transit documents for migrants. Since now, the new biometric document is only issued and handed out at the Greek-Macedonian border in Gevgelija, where one needs a passport or a similar identification document for that procedure. Two days later, the “Movebus” from the “Moving-Europe” project announced that, people from Afghanistan were “not allowed to enter the offical corridor at the Greek-Macedonian (FYROM) border.”
Recently, the network of refugee info aid centers from “Info-Park”, also active in Dimitrovgrad, reported that Syrian and Iraqi refugees who traveled via Bulgaria to Serbia without the biometric paper are advised to “go back” and organize such, if they want to transit further towards the EU. The network confirmed as well, that “females of any age or males under 14 and over 60 years of age” could enter Serbia to apply for asylum there. After “fingerprinted, photographed and given a paper (on expression of interest to apply for asylum in Serbia)”, the person has to report herself within 72 hours to an asylum camp in Serbia. Men between 14 and 60 were “fingerprinted, photographed and ordered to leave Serbia”, within 5 days.
Nearly all the Afghani men who entered via Bulgaria to Dimitrovgrad in the last 24 hours were arrested and will be deported back. Such a procedure could lead to family division, as it was already the chase with a family and a 8-month old child, Info-Park said: The man was detained and will be deported to Bulgaria, the woman could ask for asylum within Serbia. The Organisation “I am human (iHo)”, as well based in Dimitrovgrad, reported that 19 Afghans were deported to the Bulgarian Border. With such actions, Serbia is assisting the EU in creating a one and only humanitarian corridor (often referred to as the “Balkanroute”) – which has already started to close down, for many people on the run, step by step.