European’s Unions recent plans to manage the movement of people by slowing the flows at the so called ‘Balkan route‘ is apparently taking its first steps. To not enter the abstract theoretical discussions let us qoute the information posted from the Anti-racist Front Without Borders (17.11.2015), gathered by the activists and volunteers at the borders:
”At the border Croatia-Slovenia (Dobova) refugees are separated by country of origin and sent back!”
”Before even arriving in Slovenia, people are given documents to sign. The documents are not translated so people do not know what they are signing. When they arrive to Slovenia, people are then segregated according to these documents. Some are allowed to pass, while others are sent back to Croatia by train. Currently, people from Africa, Afghanistan and Iraq are being sent back.
In Dobova, there are international, self-organized volunteers who set up a tent behind the train station. People who want to help can come there. Help will be very much needed from Saturday (21.11.2015) onwards, because the international team is leaving on that day.”
IMPORTANT: However it is to say that it is not ment that all people from Africa, Afganistan and Iraq are being sent back! According to the Slovenian national media (source: http://www.rtvslo.si/svet/drzave-na-balkanski-poti-ustavile-prehod-ekonomskih-migrantov/379011) the Balkan countries, for now starting with Serbia (comming through Macedonia) are not letting anymore through people from Morocco, Bangladesh, Sri lanka, Algeria, Liberia, Congo, Sudan and Pakistan, as they are starting to be considered as economic migrants.
According to the media people from Syria, Iraq and Afganistan are let through!
However this is not clear, as for now Slovenian general secretary Boštjan Šefic is denying this, but people should prepare that this will most probably become the reality.
Moving to the northern border in Slovenia (bordercrossing Spielfeld/Šentilj (Slovenia-Austria). Information and video (15.11.2015):
“After the official statements that all is under control and volunteers are not needed, self-organized volunteers went to no man’s land. People are still waiting days and hours, no food, no water, no medical help, police uses violence and people are sleeping on cold wet floors waiting to be accepted into Austria.”
Additional older information (12.11.2015) from Preševo (border Macedonia-Serbia):
“The situation is a catastrophe: fences build big cage-like areas in which the “crowd” that “needs to be controlled” stands squeezed for hours, pregnant women and kids within them, without being able to move or to go to the toilet, with no water or food. People who faint in the cages are somehow transported next to the fences by the crowd and hauled out by supporters. Again: no doctors present, it’s supporters providing first aid. The people in the first line are pressed against the fences. To have less pressure lots of them throw their bags over the fence. When the police then opens the fences, people who have been waiting for hours sprint forward. Lots of them fall over the luggage and are run over by the people from the back, pressing to get forward. Families are separated in a brutal way, which increases the panic as nobody tells them they can reunite after the registration. Sometimes the fences give in and the people burst out. Police then hits whoever is in front with truncheons. We observed how the Police tried to control the situation by forcing people (beating and threatening with tasers) to sit down. They could than only “go” out of the cage one by one, moving forward on their knees. Everybody who tried to stand up was beaten, even persons with children on their back.”
And more recent for the volunteers (18.11.2015) from the same bordercrossing:
“I would follow up however that the camp has just been reorganized, and in this new schema most international volunteers will not be really able to assist beyond moderate food/tea distribution. Any potential volunteers, PLEASE before packing up in your car consult the local volunteer coordinator as there is VERY limited hotel space and police do not trust most international volunteers who are not under the protection of the local entity.”
However we should not forget that even though the humanitarian aid is really important to contribute to peoples well being at the borders, especially as self-organized activists are reporting that official NGO’s are not doing their job well enough and sometimes at all, but in order to fight the discriminatory developing EU’s immigration and asylum system, neo-colonialism, whether economic or racist, and capitalism we have to develop political forms at the borders, internal and external, that provide accessibilities and wellbeing for all.
(Cover photo by BoBo.)