Macedonia will change the Law on Asylum seekers

By: Sonja Trajkovska

Macedonia will change the Law on Asylum seekers to prevent tragedies happening with illegal migrants. A new article in the law will allow migrants to cross legally the border and stay in the country until they will decide to leave to reach their desired destinations.

"Following the comprehensive analysis and the consultation with the High Commissioner for Refugees, the Ministry of Interior decided to propose certain amendments to the Law on asylum seekers and on temporary care, to reduce the pressure that we have at the border with illegal migrants, to enable them to enter or to direct them toward legal border crossings. First of all we do this because we need to keep an adequate level of control, but also to ensure humane treatment and to reduce the risks these people face around the country on the road towards richer countries members of EU," said the spokesman of the Ministry of Interior Ivo Kotevski.

The changes mean, as he added, "introducing a clear distinction in law between the intention to seek asylum and the procedure for application."

"It means that at the border an illegal migrant can express orally or in writing, in an appropriate form, the clear intention to seek asylum, in this way the migrant will get the appropriate document with which he can move, this means he will be given directions to the centers, or he will be shown the place where he can submit the request for asylum. The new article of the law would permit within 72 hours to apply for asylum in the nearest police station or in the center were the asylum seekers are housed, "said Kotevski.

He admits that in the past period Macedonia, which is mostly a transit country rather than a final destination for migrants from the Middle East and North Africa, is under severe pressure, particularly from the southern border.

According to some unofficial information held by the Macedonian Ministry of Interior, says Kotevski, thousands are housed in camps and in organized or individual way they try to enter illegally the Macedonian territory.

The changes of the law, he said, made by the government are mainly due to the consideration that illegal migrants that enter on our territory in search of a better life, faced enormous tragedies - some of them lost their lives while others lost their loved ones.

"With this change we expect migrants to have much more humane treatment when entering the Republic of Macedonia, they don’t have to risk their lives and move along railways and other dangerous places," adds Kotevski.

According to the Ministry of Interior, in the first few months of this year, 20 illegal immigrants lost their lives in Macedonian along the railways.

The biggest tragedy was in mid-April, when 14 migrants were killed on the railroad near the city Veles. The latest tragic event was yesterday, when near Demir Kapija a 16-year-old boy from Afghanistan was run over by a train.

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