Praxis Watch

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

On the Occasion of the World Refugee Day

“When I was little I liked to go to my father’s workplace. He worked at a construction site. We would sit on the floor of the unfinished building, talking and watching the city. When my mother died, I used to spend a lot of time with him. My father was married three times, and I had three mothers. Two of them died. In late 2014, the Taliban intercepted my father's car while he was going to work. Someone called me from my dad's phone number and told me that my father had been shot. I rushed to the hospital, but it was too late, my father was dead.

Four months later, while I was walking to school, three black Jeeps blocked my path. They tried to throw me into the car, but I managed to break loose. I was running away through the narrow streets towards the police station. The door of the police station was closed. I was banging on the door with my foot. When the door opened, the police officers were standing there with guns pointed at me. I raised my hands up, they thought that I was one of the Taliban. Because of banging, they were as scared as I was.

Since then I no longer went to school.

Shortly after, the Taliban broke into our house at night. We slept on the upper floor and heard that someone was down there. I peeked, everything was ransacked, things were scattered around. The men dressed in black caught me, tied my hands and placed me into an armchair. They were beating me; I was covered in blood. They left after the robbery. After that, my stepmother and my uncles decided that I had to leave Afghanistan.
B.I. (16) Afghanistan“

Even though the Western Balkan route was formally closed in March 2016, Praxis records new arrivals of refugees and migrants in Belgrade on a daily basis. People we meet run away from war, persecution, poverty, hoping to find safety and a chance for a better future. Since the beginning of the year, we interviewed almost 4,000 newly arrived refugees/migrants. Approximately 1,000 of the new arrivals were children, while half of them travel without parents or guardians.

At the moment, there are almost 3,000 refugees/migrants in the reception and asylum centres in Serbia. Due to lack of available legal options, refugees and migrants continue their journey through Hungary, Croatia, Romania and, more often through Bosnia and Herzegovina, using the assistance of smugglers. In these attempts to cross borders, children and unaccompanied minors are at constant risk of violence and exploitation.

Today, on the World Refugee Day, we should not forget the people, especially children, who left their homes fleeing from armed conflicts. It is our obligation to provide them with assistance and protection on their journey to the safe refuge.

“Now more than ever, we need to stand #WithRefugees

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