The Opposition distracts the public, the NGO sector believes: They demand that the government change the plan on dealing with the refugees!

 “The opposition MPs want to fuel fear stating there is a danger of a flow of refugees who will turn Macedonia from a transit country into their home. The reality shows that unfortunately the opposition MPs intend to distract the public without taking into consideration the needs of the people who flee wars, conflicts, oppressive regimes and other socioeconomic circumstances,” says Jasmina Golubovska from NGO Legis who has been working actively on the refugee issue for years.

According to Jasmina, the fierce debate at the Parliament showed that the opposition MPs of VMRO-DPMNE were not informed about the field statistics and real situation that the refugees are faced with.

She also states that now there are no major movements from Greece and Turkey, which are the entry point of the route. In the meantime, the opposition accused the government of cutting funds aimed at the citizens in order to build flats and open new jobs for refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. The government, on the other hand, claims that the plan has been introduced voluntarily and that it will solve the problems that had appeared during the government of VMRO-DPMNE.

“So far one asylum application of two minors and one adult have been approved and they have started the integration process. In relation to the 2016-2017, period there is one new asylum application of a family; as far as the number of people who transit through the country are concerned, we believe that the figure is quite lower. As evidence, serve the newly arrived people at the Tabanovce Transit Centre and the number of new asylum seekers is 0. As for irregular entry thorough organized criminal groups, we believe that the Ministry of Interior should have more information on this topic”, Jasmina from Legis adds.

In her opinion, the opposition MPs violated the Rulebook and the principle of division of rule in the Republic of Macedonia. Instead of discussing the strategy, she states that harsh party criticism has been expressed.

“The President of the Commission of Labour and Social Policy violated the Rulebook and principle of division of rule in the Republic of Macedonia. The session was scheduled to take place as soon as possible, although the document in question is still being drafted. Therefore, the NGOs were invited to submit their comments by 08.08.2017 to the Ministry of Social Labour and Policy, which had informed us on time that it would create work groups in which the NGO sector would participate. The public discussion to which Vlatko Gjorchev had invited us is without a subject and unnecessary, and as such points to a potential abuse of the NGOs working with people recognized as part of the migrant and refugee population”, Golubovska explains.

As yet another argument that the MP Gjorchev abused his office as President of the Commission, and at the same time as MP of long standing who knows the practice of public discussions, was the fact that he himself first addressed the public discussion as MP speaking for more than an hour which is against the Rulebook.

 “Having spoken for one hour and 10 minutes although the lists of speakers had been filled in already, he violated his position as President of the Commission and ignored the invited representatives of the government, the citizens associations and other stakeholders. At the public discussion, VMRO-DPMNE members participated, as well, whereas the experts who are a prerequisite for this kind of discussions were absent. Golubovska empasises that: “All the resources of the Parliament, citizens and representatives of the institutions were abused for the necessities of the MP, which are still unclear to the stakeholders.”

She goes on to say that the draft of the Strategy and the Action Plan for Integration of Refugees and Foreigners 2017-2027 needs changes.

Jasmina adds that: “We would appreciate specific opinions and suggestions if first we coordinate them with the Ministry of Social Labour and Policy, and then in written form with the public through our legal and political team working on the detail analysis of the document.”

Now there are no major movements coming from Greece and Turkey, which are in fact the entry point of the route. However, Golubovska reckons that time will show whether things will change in September after the tourist season is over in these two countries, which offer an opportunity for earning money, bearing in mind that the border closure has lowered travel opportunities financially.

 “As for the institutional response, we have managed to enable safe transit to almost 1 million people whose final destination is not the Republic of Macedonia. After the closure of the route, the people arriving from 2016 onwards did not stay for long; on the contrary, the number of people residing for a longer time is much lower. Regarding the rumours of numbers started for unknown reasons to us, we advise the public to get answers from the relevant institutions, primarily from the Office of the President of the Republic of Macedonia which could provide answers about international responsibilities taken by Macedonia through bilateral and multilateral agreements, most of them signed in 2015-2016”, Jasmina from Legis recommends.

Golubovska further explains that at both borders 38 people have been residing for more than 4 months now whose fates hang in the balance waiting for a better future.

Source : Фактор.мк