Updates - 9.3.2016
- The Balkan route has been officially declared closed.
Updates - 8.3.2016
- last night, euco plus turkey decided on a draft plan to try to stop all irregular migration and to allow pushbacks to turkey. countries will reconvene on 17. march. here is the full text of the draft proposal: - link
- “Irregular flows of migrants along the Western Balkans route have now come to an end.”
- asylum info for people wishing to claim refuge in greece is here - link
- “A person seeking international protection is any foreign national or stateless person who declares to any Greek authority, orally or in writing, that he/she is seeking asylum or requests not to be deported because he/she is in fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, participation in a particular social group or his/her political beliefs, or because he/she is in danger of suffering serious harm in his/her country of origin or country of previous residence, especially because he/she is in danger of facing the death penalty or execution, torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or his/her life or person is in danger because of an international or civil war.”
Updates - 7.3.2016
- Croatian police confirmed that entry into Croatia will be prohibited to Iraqis coming from Iraqi Kurdistan - provinces Dohuk, Erbil, Sulaymanuya, provinces Kirkuk and Diyala (cities Baqubah and Miqdadiyah), and from southern part of Iraq, provinces Najaf, Babylon, Wasit, Al-Qadisiyah, Maysan, Dhi-Qar, Muthanna and Basra. This is worrying, since reports say that this is not yet being implemented upstream at the greece/fyrom border, which could mean even more people trapped in serbia and/or macedonia.
Updates - 6.3.2016
- AP reports leaked information confirming that cities such as Damascus and Baghdad are not considered war zones for the purpose of admission to the western Balkan “humanitarian” corridor - link
Updates - 5.3.2016
- volunteers reports that the people are only able to travel to the border on foot, which many continue to do
- many people have had problems with their greek papers when attempting to enter the route, as their birthdays were entered as January 1st. since that doesn’t match the birthdates in their passports, they are being denied entry into macedonia. other sources of denial are abnormalities with stamps, or signatures in black rather than blue ink
- sources report that people with turkish entry stamps on their passports older than 30 days are denied access to the balkan route
- despite the agreement between the joint police forces to only screen travelers on the balkan route once at the only entry to the route in gevgelija, rejections are still reported to be happening at all borders from greece to austria
- volunteers at idomeni report that when the border is open, people are being let through to Macedonia based on their date of registration in greece. 18. february is the date which are allowed to cross today
- reports of extremely thorough searches and interviews at the macedonian border when entering the route, including body search, bags, cell phones
- there have been many reports of inconsistent policies at the croatian border entry in sid
Updates - 4.3.2016
- current buildup in greece is above 35k people (~14.4k non-SI), according to UNHCR’s daily numbers - link
- dangerous seas continue today and tomorrow - link
- cold temperatures tonight. precipitation is forecast for the islands thru tomorrow - link
Updates - 2.3.2016
- If you are in Serbia and you have wifi, please look at the “Asylum in Serbia” app. It features up-to-date information on the asylum procedure in Serbia and the whole Balkan route. New “requirements” to go forward and new nationalities being barred are being added every day, so stay informed and keep your options open. - link
Updates - 1.3.2016
- It is URGENTLY recommended that individuals stop crossing to Dimitrovgrad as officials are making every effort to shut down humanitarian aid and assistance. From this point, it seems that in practice, anyone caught at this border will be treated as illegal and either pushed back to Bulgaria and taken into Bulgarian custody, or taken into Serbian custody.
The Bulgarian/Serbian border is officially criminalized, and it is not possible to get proper travel papers here. Only in Gevgelija. Only one legal path is available for asylum-seekers through Balkans / Idomeni Macedonia Serbia Croatia and so on. Bulgaria is to be avoided altogether.
- SHARE: Due to the instability and inconsistency in border transit at this time, some volunteers strongly recommend that if pushed back, individuals should apply for asylum where they are rather than be pushed back.
At this point, there are no guarantees that once in Gevgelija or Idomeni an individual will be able to rejoin the Balkan route. With new quotas imposed, the waiting list for interview/biometric paperwork is ever-increasing, and there may be a risk that once all pushbacks are in Greece, that the borders could close entirely, making no exception for individuals who complied with the pushback.
Whenever you seek to request asylum in a country, make sure that you demand to see UNHCR or whatever authority is overseeing asylum application procedure, so as to not fall prey to low-level power games from authorities who may reject applications at their discretion. NGO (and volunteer) oversight decreases their power.
In some places, people in pushback currently are NOT told they are being deported, and are being told to sign their own deportation papers without being told what they are signing, and without informing them of their right to claim asylum where they are.
- on 18.02.2016, a new agreement was made between the chiefs of police of austria, slovenia, croatia, serbia, and macedonia - link
- new “unified” papers are being issued at Gevgelija - link
- only syrian and iraqi nationalities with proper photo ID (passports, national identity cards, driving licenses and health cards from the country of origin) are allowed to enter the balkan route - link
- a maximum of only 550 or so people per day will be allowed to enter Macedonia
- NATO ships are present in the eastern Aegean, no reports yet that they are operating
- hotspots are now functional on Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros
- Lots of arrivals everywhere, depending on weather
- unhcr reports facilities on islands are overcrowded
- Frontex/coast guard is picking up some boats and bringing the people safely to port, but not 100%
- * unknown situation/procedure/detention rules in hotspots, please make an effort to ask people who have passed thru them how it goes