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Hungary closes its borders

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On October 15 2015 Hungary finally decided to close its border passage Botovo with Croatia, where the “more formal  coridor” for the flow of people, temporary established by inter-governmental agreements, took place, changing the direction of the so called balkan route. Instead of going through Croatia to Hungary the route is redirected to Slovenia, where people are registered, before taken to Austrian border (slov. Šentilj/ ger. Spielfeld).

Karta Slovenije

Info: use map for traveling through Slovenia.

Activist which are at the Slovenian borders and registration camps are reporting, that the authorities are taking fingerprints from the incoming people at the Gruškovje registration camp, but not at Petišovci. This information is not entirely clear, but it is worth to take into account that your fingerprints can be sent to EURODAC. Because of this, predominantly non-Syrians, can be effected by the Dublin convention – this means: if you claim asylum in other EU country, they can return you to Slovenia.

Who can be affected:

  • your fingerprints were taken in another country (and stored on a common European database called EURODAC)
  • you admit that you have been to, or travelled through, another country, even if you didn’t give your fingerprints
  • it can be shown by some other source of evidence that you have been to, or travelled through another country
  • it can be shown that you were previously issued a visa for an EU country
  • you tell the authorities that you wish to join your spouse, who is an asylum seeker or a refugee in another country

In case this happens to you and if you are non-Syrian citizen, you will need legal aid.

Situation in Slovenia (18.10.2015), reports from activists:

Our group on the field successfully set up an Info point in Petišovci. It is located next to the big registration tent. The situation regarding the access to the registration centres is varying. While there were no bigger problems in Petišovci, nobody external was allowed to enter the registration centre in Središče ob Dravi.

The other type of centres are accommodation centres. One is located in Šentilj (Spielfeld), the other in Gornja Radgona. These ones are being used at the moment, there are roughly about 20 more all over Slovenia which can be used if needed. These are being managed by the Civil Protection (Civilna zaščita), while the registration centres are being managed by the police. In addition to the registration centres in Petišovci and Središče ob Dravi there are more registration centres in Obrežje, Gruškovje and Dolga vas.

It seems the access to both types of centres might become an issue. Volunteers would be able to enter the accommodation centres via the Slovene Philanthropy and NGO Adre. This does not apply for the registration centres, where the access is even more restricted.

Based on the conversations with the refugees they mostly need information and the possibility to communicate. They fear what fingerprinting them means, whether it serves as a ground for deportation, they don’t know where they are and would like to inform their families regarding their situation. There’s no wifi network, chargers, multiple socket outlets, etc. in none of the centres. The medical staff in Petišovci complains that they aren’t allowed to hand out warm milk to the kids. One Austrian group offered to cook tea, with hesitation the head of the Red Cross agreed. This group already leaves today.

In short, the government agencies are declining external independent help. As a result of their limited capacities regarding the reception of refugees the flow has been slowed down, so they get stuck on the Balkan route, subjected to the cold and abuse and being blocked to to leave hazardous zones.

Some information from Gruškovje:

// 23.28 //
The police demands we have to wake up all people so they can count them. They want them all awake and standing together. Some are walking around with flashlights and are waking up the people. I had to leave because I can’t stand it any more. The ambulance came, they stepped on the bus because a woman needed urgent help. On the way to the bus the medical staff spotted a sleeping person who looked dead. He threw a blanket back over him and said ‘somebody forgot the trash’. Just now volunteers from Switzerland and Murska Sobota (Slovenia) arrived, UNHCR miraculously disappeared.

The bus is crowded, they allow only Syrians to pass. A third bus arrived, the police is shouting like crazy. Police: “YOU’RE ALL BROTHERS, MOTHERFUCKERS!”

// 22:30 //
UNHCR forbid distribution of food and water, which is not theirs. They decided this after volunteers started to bring food/water. Before that they didn’t make a problem. However, it seems that this has forced them to finally distribute water in the camp, which they had not done the entire day.

This is the common attitude of the EU, state authorities and also official NGO’s (predominantly UNHCR and Red Cross) towards people fleeing persecution and searching better life in the EU.

Slovenian interior ministry announced that it will let daily only 2500 people through its territory to Austria – this also means that when enough people leave Slovenia new people will be transported from Croatian borders to Slovenian registration camps (they are transported by buses from the borders). They also said that Austria is accepting only 1500 people per day (source: Slovenian national media (http://www.rtvslo.si/slovenija/slovenija-za-danes-koncala-sprejem-prebeznikov-v-cakovec-vlak-s-1-200-ljudmi/376584), but these news were just recently falsified by the Austrian Amnesty International which said that the upper gap for letting people through Austria is not 1500, as claimed Slovenian interior minister. This part, however, remains unclear, as some Austrian media (e.g. http://derstandard.at/2000024097298/Fluechtlinge-Unterschiedliche-Angaben-von-Slowenien-und-Oesterreich) are confirming Slovenian interior ministry’s words that Austria allows only 1500 people through Slovenian border per day.

Because of this activists from the borders are reporting:

Bottlenecks and additional shocks are already happening in Croatia:Macedonia and Serbia are advised to prepare accordingly as Slovenia is letting refugees pass but ONLY 2500per day. On the other hand, the number of refugees crossing Greece and Macedonia remains around 5000 to 7000…Where will they go? Except for increased humanitarian relief, we MUST be prepared for joint pressure and even physical presence at the Croatian border if needed

This means that if Slovenia is registering such a small amount of people per day, the numbers of people can increase on the other Balkan borders or camps e.g. at Greek, Macedonian, Serbian and Croatian.

Also some solidarity is needed on Lesbos, Greece, with the Autonomous Initiative for Solidarity with Refugees/Migrants (old information):

The authorities of Lesbos threaten people in solidarity!

On Sunday 11 October 2015, the municipal authorities of Lesbos, more specifically deputy mayor Giorgos Katzanos, in charge of sanitation and garbage disposal on the island, and Giorgos Saroglos, spokesman for the village of Skala Sykaminia, threatened us concerning the structures erected on the beach and ordered us to remove them. They actually gave us a deadline of one week; otherwise they threaten to evict us by force.
Today local residents confirmed that this evacuation is to go ahead. While it is also known that the Golden Dawn member of parliament Lagos is visiting the island this weekend, we were given to understand that this is likely to take place in Skala Sykaminia under escort of the fascists.
The project was formed and consolidated two weeks ago by a number of people in solidarity and groups of several different nationalities, many of whom will be here on Sunday. We call on all those who support solidarity with the refugees on the island to come to the structures of the Autonomous Solidarity Initiative this evening, Saturday, to oppose the authorities’ plans and to confront whatever may arise.
We are here because we uphold the political position of displaying solidarity with the refugees/migrants. Any threat to us is a threat to refugees/migrants.

Email: solidarity.refugees.athens@gmail.com

(There is no most recent information about the happening there)

Important tip for activists/volunteers going to the borders to help: you will usually need to register with the local NGO or humanitarian organization, which is already there or your access will be likely denied by the authorities.

refugee help maps

refugee support maps

More information on the Serbian/Croatian/Slovenian/Hungarian bordersfollow: http://pastebin.com/wtnWbKkf

https://www.facebook.com/Protirasisti%C4%8Dna-fronta-brez-meja-962830080456004/  (Information in the English language is always bellow)

Some other information about the balkan route (prices etc.): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fZlNfQkC3EFLrjAuszFm-fjuDDVNvtfcyqb0bfDtpa4/edit?pli=1

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