Serbia now letting only "refugees from war" cross border

Serbia and Macedonia have started to limit the passage of "refugees who are not coming from war-affected areas of Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan."

Source: B92

This is what the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Thursday.

This decision means that "refugees from Africa and Asia" will not be able to pass through Serbia on their way toward western Europe, UNHCR added.

Serbia has closed its borders to all migrants who are not refugees from war zones, Serbian officials have confirmed.

Labor and Social Affairs Minister Aleksandar Vulin said on Thursday the border was closed to economic migrants, that is, "the migrants coming from countries that Croatia and Slovenia have decided could not enjoy their hospitality."

"We need to protect our country and that is why we implemented reciprocal measures toward those that Croatia and Slovenia have no place for. We will not allow anyone to enter Serbia who cannot continue their journey. We are not a country where they (migrants and refugees) come to stay, they are only passing through Serbia, and that will remain so," said Vulin.

The minister also warned that the problem must be solved "at the level of the entire migrant route," while unilateral actions "could be harmful and cause problems" - but stressed that Serbia is "protecting its territory."

Vulin said that every country on the migrant route "must have the same common position," and that "a video conference" will be held this afternoon.

UNHCR spokesperson Melita Sunjic said earlier that refugees from other countries have been turned back, "so hundreds are stranded on the border."

According to her, Macedonia "closed its border" at 03:00 CET, leaving about 100 people in no man's land.

"Starting at 18:00 hours yesterday (Wednesday) Serbia began to send back to Macedonia everyone except Syrians, Iraqis, and Afghanis," Sunjic said.


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