In the last week, since the Hungary closed its borders, Slovenia became the ‘new hotspot’ for the so called Balkan route, where people, who traveled from Serbia or Croatia to Hungary, were forced to change their direction of traveling to their desired situations.
In the last post we talked about the hypocrisy of the seeming humanitarian and ‘open’ Western European countries, since in the recent political assemblies at the European Commission it is becoming apparent that the EU is trying to hold people at its external borders or just let inside the desired amount of people, whether those needed for the labor markets or ”those who really need the international protection”.
These days it is getting obvious that the European Union, a supranational entity supposedly built on the values of freedom and peace, is putting a stamp on it’s mostly non-existant immigration and asylum system. That the European leaders selectively apply such values only for the economic and political elites is nothing new. New and surprising aren’t even the new changes for the immigration and asylum laws that are being developedunder the privileged position by the technocratic elites in Berlin and Brussels. We must never forget how many people continue to die while trying to cross Mediterranean every year, because of the already existing legal framework.
Hungaryan anti-terrorist tanks, heavy police forces&water cannons were seen heading to the Croatian border
Graffiti emerged in Croatia after the closure of Hungary’s border
After Hungary closes it’s Croatian border the new main route for refugees could be through Slovenia& Austria
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).
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.
The category of Border monitoring will be used to give reports about the flow of people throught the borders of the so called “Balkan route”. The route watch will mostly include borders and registration centers between Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia and Austria.
All information will be first-hand and forwarded from the groups of activists and volunteers (from sites such as Anti-Racist Front Without Borders from Slovenia, Open Borders Caravan that are located on the borders. The aim of the Border monitoring is not only to report on happening on mentioned borders and to give coordinates for the humanitarian aid, but also to make the recent flow of people (what the EU, its member states and mainstream media calls ‘refugee crisis’) a politically relevant question which adresses the discriminatory and xenophobic imigration and asylum policies within the EU, as well as its connection with the neoliberal developments. Open borders for all!
First post will outline the thoughts by some activists from the Anti-Racist Front Without Borders (Slovenia), who were in the past month present at the Slovenian, Macedonian, Serbian, Croatian and Hungarian borders.
At the border at Rigonce (Slovenia/Croatia) there where first bigger waves of refugees. At 17.30 and there were around 100, but 3 hours later, there were at least 500-600 at that small border. At the Bregana border crossing there were already 800 people and up to today there are around 2000-3000. They are already transported to Slovenian asylum centers, camps etc.
Slovenian side of the border was packed with 100-150 robocops and they didn’t let anyone through. Slovenian government gave a clear massage that it closed it’s borders, even before people came. They also used teargas once and their batons. Currently they are letting inside families, mostly women and children, and are separating men from them. People are tired, but extremly filled with positive energy, they showed that struggle for freedom is unstoppable.
Activists are really organized, but situation changes from hour to hour.