Migration

Friday, 25 November 2016

Praxis at the Workshop Health Implications of Transnational Human Migration

Towards the tenth conference of the International Society for Health and Human Rights entitled Mental Health, Mass People Displacement and Ethnic Minorities, which will be held in February next year, an introductory workshop on the topic "Health Implications of Transnational Human Migrations" was held in Novi Sad on 24 November. Praxis joined the workshop to participate in discussions on the experiences and insights gained through the work on urgent protection, accommodation and assistance to refugees and asylum seekers in Serbia.

In addition to exchanging the up-to-date information on the situation concerning accommodation, sanitary conditions of migrant accommodation and challenges related to the impact of mass transnational migrations on people's mental health, the workshop participants discussed recommendations for a potential improvement of the current situation in the region of Central and South-Eastern Europe. In the workshop, representatives of non-governmental and governmental sector, regional, provincial and national Public Health Institutes, as well as foreign experts, shared their knowledge and insights from their own practice, bringing them into connection with the existing and necessary measures of prevention and protection of mental and physical health of migrants and asylum seekers.

Although significantly reduced since the closure of the Balkan Route in March this year, the passage of refugees through Serbia has not been stopped. UNHCR estimates that there were about 6,400 of them in Serbia in November 2016, and according to some NGO estimates, this number is significantly higher. Although over 5,000 people are accommodated in different transit and reception centres and asylum centres, a large number of people still stay in the abandoned buildings, in the makeshift and unhygienic conditions, without access to health care and protection. This situation requires urgent action, systemic approach to the problem, intersectoral cooperation and coordinated, mutually supportive action of the state, civil sector and agencies active in this field of activity.

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