A small victory for the rights of refugees

November the 4th, a grey morning dispersed with cold sunrays dawns upon the refugee centre of Gevgelija. Seemingly yet another ordinary day in a closed camp, but for the 130 people that have been stuck here for approximately 8 months, it is a markedly emotional moment.

Tears of joy and sadness pervade in the air, goodbyes and warm hugs are given among the refugees themselves but also among the refugees and volunteers. Around 20 asylum-seekers that have been waiting for months to get transferred to the open asylum centre in Skopje, finally have their voices and demands heard - they have left this morning.

Hamide, the Afghan woman named “superwoman” in the Gevgelija camp, the very pillar of strength in the camp, is also leaving with her family. In the past couple of months, life in the closed centre was anything but easy for her. But she always manages to look on the bright side of life:

“Despite the fact that this was one of the most challenging times in my life, I am still grateful to have met you, all the local volunteers that have become great friends of mine. I am extremely happy I am leaving, but I am also crying and very sad, because I am not just leaving a closed camp, but also my dear friends behind”. - says Hamide, as she wipes away the tears with her hijab.

The Legis team continues to support and fight for the improvement of the conditions of all refugees in the camp. We have continually lobbied for the asylum seekers to be able to stay in the open asylum centre in Skopje. Thus, this is a small yet significant victory for the asylum seekers from  the Gevgelija refugee centre; but for the 104 people that remain in the transit centre, it means they have to keep on waiting until the EU takes a decision regarding their status.