16,500 people sought asylum in Serbia last year
Deputy Commissioner for Refugees and Migration Ivan Gerginov said on Wednesday that 16,500 people have sought asylum in Serbia in 2014.Source: Tanjug
11,300 of them found shelter in asylum centers, he revealed.
Gerginov told TV Pink that the number of asylum seekers is growing rapidly, recalling that only 44 persons were placed in asylum centers in 2008.
At the time, most asylum seekers were coming from Afghanistan and Somalia, while lately the number of those coming from Syria and Mali is on the rise.
The deputy commissioner added that asylum seekers in Serbia are accommodated in five centers.
Commenting on yesterday's road accident on the Leskovac - Vranje highway in which 42 illegal migrants were injured, Gerginov said that Serbia is a transit country for migrants, who generally cross the state border illegally and on foot.
"We presume that this group came from Macedonia or perhaps Bulgaria, which the investigation will determine later on,” said Gerginov.
The migrants are coming from active war zones, and they know the location of asylum centers and the situation in every country, Gerginov noted.
Jovana Vincic of the Asylum Protection Center, appearing on the same show, said that some of the migrants who were injured yesterday are in a life-threatening condition, and added that the center is in contact with the emergency department and hospitals.
If the migrants apply for asylum after being released from hospital, they will be placed in asylum centers and Serbia will be responsible for them. If they do not apply, they will be forced to leave the country, said Vincic.
Six migrants were transferred to the county jail in Leskovac as they did not express the intention to apply for asylum, she added.