Quarterly report - June – Sep 15 2017 Help on the Route

 

 

 

 

Quarterly report - June – Sep 15 2017

Monitoring of access to Human Rights and protection of refugees and migrants in transit-border centers Tabanovce (Northern border) and, Gevgelija (Southern border)

Legis is an implementing partner-organization of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia and the Divac Foundation from Serbia, Novi Sad Humanitarian Centre - NSHC and Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Deutschland (ASB) on the project: Help on the Route – Fostering Protection of Human Rights of Refugees and Migrants Passing Through Macedonia and Serbia. In this regard, Legis has 6 field officers and 2 coordinators who collect daily information on the access to human rights and protection of residents in the transit-border centers Tabanovce on the Northern and Gevgelija on the Southern border.

Accordingly, this quarterly report represents a summary of:

- Number of reports: 108 daily reports in total i.e. questionnaires gathered during this period.

The total number of supported refugees/migrants: around 82 refugees/migrants were supported during this period, since the new arrivals fluctuate on a daily basis, our field officers managed to establish communication with almost each newly arrived person in the camp Tabanovce, while the southern border camp Gevgelija remains closed and with only 11 residents. At this moment, only 14 people reside in Tabanovce in total, while 2 new arrivals are reported.  The numbers fluctuate on a daily basis, as well as their time of stay in this transit-center. Usually people, who reached the center, transited from the Southern border and would remain for 2-3 days or depending if any have medical need or would seek for asylum. However, there are no new asylum applications submitted, although available in both transit-centers.

Tabanovce, Norther border

Facilities and conditions:

The transit-center in Tabanovce, Kumanovo has temporary living facilities (containers) for residents with satisfactory heating and cooling conditions. All residents have access to hygiene facilities, communal kitchen, and recreational spaces for children etc. However, all facilities and activities, including food preparation and meal decision, is done by the center’s Institutional authorities and CSOs representatives. On rare occasions, the residents have joint activities, including music or movie events. The daily routine of the people depends on the programs within the center’s facilities, as the restriction of movement has not been lifted. The center’s infrastructure has improved over the course of this year, however remains difficult for people with problems with physical mobility.

Institutional treatment:

Access to asylum or temporary protection:

All residents have access to asylum or temporary protection submissions through the Department of Asylum of the Ministry of Interior and local CSO Macedonian Young Lawyers Association within the center or other legal aid in need. Legis also refers cases to the Ombudsperson office and the Helsinki Committee when HR violations occur or a person is in need of institutional protection.

Access to services: health care, medical needs, food and non-food items:

All residents have access to basic health care, medical aid and food and non-food items, however, due to lack of socialization of the residents, where some have spent over 4-5 months in the centers experience depression or may develop severe Post-traumatic stress disorder, since mental health care is not part of the programmed activities in the centers.

Restriction of movement:

-Residents are restricted in terms of leaving the center premises, only escorted individuals or groups are taken to the city of Kumanovo on need basis.

- Entrance in the camp for new arrivals is restricted. As Legis reported to the Ombudsperson office about the treatment people get outside the camp in need of humanitarian, medical or other services, as well as the closed policy of the camp for entrance and exit of people inside and outside the camp. After the Ombudsperson office reacted to the Ministry of Interior, the doors of the camp were opened for few days, and then closed. The Ombudsperson office conducted a field visit and concluded that the decision of the Minister was not respected fully i.e. depending of the police shift and good will.

Gevgelija, Southern border:

Facilities and conditions:

As the transit-center in Tabanovce, Gevgelija has temporary living facilities (containers) for residents with satisfactory heating and cooling conditions. Having in mind that the number of residents is 11, most of the living spaces are empty, including the Rub Halls set in 2015. All residents have access to hygiene facilities, communal kitchen, and recreational spaces for children etc. As in Tabanovce, there are occasions where the residents have some activities; however remain to socialize only with the center’s employees and volunteers. The daily routine of the people depends on the programs within the center’s facilities, as the restriction of movement has not been lifted.

Institutional treatment:

Access to asylum or temporary protection:

All residents have access to asylum or temporary protection submissions through the Department of asylum of the Ministry of Interior and local CSO Macedonian Young Lawyers Association within the center or other legal aid in need. Legis also refers cases to the Ombudsperson office and the Helsinki Committee when HR violations occur or a person is in need of institutional protection.

Access to services: health care, medical needs, food and non-food items:

All residents have access to basic health care, medical aid and food and non-food items, also residents experience depression due to lack of socialization and lack of mental health care programme available in the center.

Restriction of movement:

Residents are restricted in terms of leaving the center premises, only escorted individuals or groups are taken to the center of city Gevgelija on need basis.

- Number of referred cases to the Ombudsperson office during this period:

- We referred 1 case of a minor from Libya and due to the sensitivity of the case and since they are dealing with a minor, these are the only information we are allowed to share at this moment.

Police violence – incident report: A police violence incident was reported on the 17.07.2017 in the early morning hours or 04.30 AM. According to eye witnesses’ statement, few police officers began banging with batons on containers where people slept and after executed mass deportation toward Greece by force and without informing local NGOs such as the Macedonian Young Lawyers Association as partner-organization to the Department of Asylum within the Ministry of Interior. The incident is under investigation, while the Ombudsperson office prepared 2 criminal charges to be brought against 2 police officers. This is the information Legis has so far.

- 1 case, lack of implementation of the decision for access to the transit center services for people residing outside the fence.