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).
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. Continue reading