Overview of Activities During the Increased Influx of Migrants
Commissariat for Refugees and Migration, according to its mandate defined in the Law on asylum and the Law on Migration Management, and based on decades of experience in caring, accommodation and integration of forced migrants, provides adequate shelter and basic living conditions of persons who express their intention to seek asylum in the Republic of Serbia.
Republic of Serbia has been faced, since 2008, increasing number of persons who express their intention to seek asylum. Increased number of migrants is noticeable in 2015. During nine months of this year, 160.000 foreign citizens, mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, expressed asylum intention.
Eventhough Serbia is country of transit, where migrants spend short amount of time (in 2015 average of staying is only couple of days), Commissariat for Refugees and Migration puts tremendous amount of effort to ensure adequate and human answer to migrants needs, which this journal stands for.
Migratory trends this year clearly indicated an increased influx of migrants in the territory of the Republic of Serbia.
In order to provide necessary preparations on time, on 10 May, meeting of trustees for refugees and migration of several districts, namely, of Nis, South Morava and Pcinja, took place in Vranje. Goals set on the meeting wеre to establish mechanisms for humanitarian accommodation of migrants in parts of Serbia that are under most of pressure.
5 June - The Government of the Republic of Serbia, acting in accordance with data provided by Commissariat for Refugees and Migration, made decision to establish Working Group for solving problems of mixed migration flows which is composed of ministers of 5 mandatory fields and the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration.
15 June - First meeting of Working Group for solving problems of mixed migration flows, attended by Aleksandar Vulin, Minister of labour, employment, veteran and social policy as Chair, Nebojsa Stefanovic, Minister of Interior, Jadranka Joksimovic, Minister without portfolio in charge of EU integration of Serbia, Vladimir Cucic, Commissioner for refugees and migrations, Vesna Kneginjic, assistant of minister of health and representatives of Delegation of EU. Current situation in asylum system and announcements of building a wall at the Hungarian border has been discussed at the meeting. Common conclusion was that it is necessary to find suitable location for establishing one stop centre.
16 June - Based on conclusions from the first meeting, Defense Minister, Bratislav Gasic, visited facility of Tobacco industry in Presevo, to ensure that facility is suitable for establishing one stop centre for migrants.
17 June - Representatives of Public health department of City of Vranje visited the location and provided Working Group with Report on evaluation of health situation and taking necessary measures.
19 June - Assistant Commissioner for Reception, Accommodation and Sheltering, Return and Durable Solutions of Refugees, Ivan Gerginov, visited location in Presevo to provide initial assesment plan of resource needed for establishing one stope centre in Presevo.
- Parallel with the increasing number of migrants in southern Serbia along the border with Macedonia, there is an evident increase in the number of migrants in the border municipalities with Hungary.
23. June - Meeting in Commissariat for Refugees and Migration was held with representatives of Ministry of Health and Red Cross of Serbia. The meeting was also attended by City Councillor of Subotica, Milimir Vujadinović. The meeting aimed to coordinate the competent services to provide humanitarian and other assistance to vulnerable migrants.
24. June - Commissariat for Refugees and Migration Team conducted a detailed assessment of the situation in Preševo. That team also prepared a report on current situation. There were also present representatives of Ministry of Interior, Serbian Armed Forces, and Coordination Body of the Government of the Republic of Serbia in Municipalities of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja.
25. June - Ministry of labour, employment, veteran and social policy has been given report on the situation on the ground with the proposal of further measures.
26. June - Ministry of labour, employment, veteran and social policy sent the specification of necessary means and equipment for establishing facility of Tobacco industry in Presevo, which will be used as One Stop Centre.
- With the increasing number of migrants in the city of Belgrade, the Government started with taking measures to provide assistance to this category of persons. Concerning this issue, a meeting between representatives of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration and the City of Belgrade was held, where they agreed the modalities of cooperation in order to solve the new situation in the municipality of Savski Venac.
27. June- Distribution of leaflets containing the most important information and phone numbers started in Presevo, as well at locations where migrants retain. The leaflets contain all the relevant information regarding accommodation and the exercise of associated rights and the relevant contacts of institution that provide assistance to migrants.
29. June - Minister Vulin and Minister Gašić have visited the works on renovation of the Reception center in Presevo.
30. June - Assistant Commissioner for Reception, Accommodation and Sheltering, Return and Durable Solutions of Refugees, Ivan Gerginov, together with Minister Aleksandar Vulin, has performed an assessment of the situation in the municipalities of Subotica and Kanjiza, where the growing number of migrants has been observed.
1 July - Commissariat for Refugees and Migration organized coordination meeting wtih international and non-governmental organisations regarding detailed planning of further steps and providing coordinated and timely delivering humanitarian help. Meeting was held in accordance with representatives of the UNHCR, Arbeiter Samariter Bund, Danish Refugee Council, the Charitable fund of the Serbian Orthodox Church- ’Philantrophy’, organisation Caritas, CRS, humanitarian organisation ADRA, German non-governmental organisation HELP and Open Society Foundation. Organization of donor’s conference was discussed at the meeting and it was agreed that list of necessities for establishing One Stop Center in Presevo will be forwarded to all participants. Organizations were also asked to what extent and in which way they can help. It was concluded that after the meeting of the Working Group it will be more precisely defined how the funds would be spent.
- At 15 o’clock there was a meeting with contractors in Presevo.
- Commissioner Vladimir Cucić and his Deputy Svetlana Velimirović met in Presevo with Milenko Nikić, representative of the Ministry for labour, employment, veteran and social policy. During the meeting they agreed on the remaining details regarding the functioning of the One Stop Centre in Presevo.
3. July - Phone and fax line were established at the One Stop Centre in Presevo, number 017/664-152. It began settling of the administrative building in Presevo, the furniture and other necessary resources were brought and the Internet connection was installed.
6. July - The Commissioner for Refugees and Migration held a briefing with employees who are involved in the opening of the Center in Presevo.
7. July – Commissioner Vladimir Cucić and Assistant Commissioner Ivan Gerginov, traveled to Presevo with their people who are to work in One Stop Center in Presevo. Five-member teams were formed that will be sent to work in Presevo for a period of seven days.
8. July - All the prerequisite were provided for normal functioning and One Stope Centre was officially opened.
9. July - At the Hotel ’Palas’ was held a partnership meeting with representatives of diplomatic core and non-govermental sector, in the presence of Commissioner Vladimir Cucić, Deputy Commissioner Svetlana Velimirović and Assistant Commissioner Ivan Gerginov. Representatives of the Commissariat informed the parties concerned with the current situation, measures taken and the need to provide further forms of support and additional resources.
- A decision on the appointment of Srđan Ristić for the Head of the One Stope Center and Slobodan Savović for Deputy was made.
- In order to ensure an adequate level of awareness of migrants and facilitate the admission procedures, informational posters were distributed with information on the procedure of admission to One Stop Centre in Presevo and translated into the native languages of migrants.
13 July - The plan for public procurement of supplies necessary for the functioning of the One Stop Center in Presevo was drafted and submitted to the Administration for Joint Services of the Republic Bodies.
14 July - The meeting with the State Secretary at the Ministry of labour, employment, veteran and social policy, Nenad Ivanišević, regarding available means. It was agreed that the NGO CRS would provide help to Municipality of Kanjiža, and NGO Amariter Samariter Bund to Subotica.
- Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić, together with Minister Stefanović an Minister Lončar, visited One Stope Centre in Presevo.
17 July - Assistant Comissioner Ivan Gerginov met with Consul of the Republic Poland and reached an agreement on the establishment of bilateral cooperation between institutions responsible for migration issues.
- By order of the Commissioner, the competent authorities of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration launched a detailed specification of requirements and a more detailed plan in case of a longer stay of migrants in Serbia.
20 July - Commissioner Vladimir Cucić and Assistant Commissioner Ivan Gerginov met with Minister Aleksandar Vulin, to reach consensus regarding upcoming steps and the use of available resources.
22 July - Commissioner for Refugees and Migration organized meeting with representatives of relevant NGOs regarding managing an increasing influx of migrants. The meeting was attended by Nenad Ivanisevic, State Secretary in the Ministry of Labor, Employment, and Social Issues, and Milenko Nikic, Adviser in the same ministry. On that occasion the Commissioner made a presentation on the current situation and the upcoming period, including possible cooperation between the competent authorities and NGOs as to provide an adequate answer on the given situation. Afterwards, participants were also asked what kind of means they have, how much and in which way they could help. They concluded to draft list of needs for all potential centers and One Stop Center in Presevo.
24 July - The donation of beds by the NGO Catholic Relief Service has been provided for assistance and equipping Point for urgent reception of migrants in Kanjiža.
- Commissioner for Refugees and Migration Vladimir Cucic met with the representatives of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, reliable long-term donors and partners of the Commissariat in the field of migration management.
26. July- Minister Aleksandar Vulin and Commissioner Vladimir Cucić visited the One Stop Centre in Presevo, in order to ensure the quality acceptance of migrants.
27 July - At the meeting, initiated by the Ministry of Labour, Employment, and Social Issues, which was attended by Commissioner Cucić, setting up a humanitarian point in Miratovac was planned.
5 August - During the meeting with representatives of Ministry of labour and Red Cross, they agreed on the necessary details about the further distribution of food, which will be possible, in the future, only through the Red Cross.
6 August- During the meeting held at the premises of Commissariat for Refugees and Migration, which was attended by Minister Aleksandar Vulin, Commissioner presented a detailed plan of measures and activities for the care of migrants and proposed the plan of support for local governments.
10.August - Commissariat for Refugees and Migration initiated the meeting which aimed to achieve full coordination of state bodies in case of further increasing of the influx of migrants, in accordance with its mandate, to provide additional infrastructure and resources to provide an adequate care for migrants.
12 August - Point for urgent reception of migrants was opened in Kanjiža, which is a centre with mainly humanitarian character.
13. August- Meeting of the Working Group for solving the problems of mixed migration flows, which was attended by Commissioner Vladimir Cucić, Deputy Commissioner Svetlana Velimirović an Assistant Commissioner Gerginov, was held. Current situation and necessary improvements were discussed.
14 August - Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Chepurin, Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Issues Aleksandar Vulin and Commissioner for Refugees and Migration Vladimir Cucić visited the Reception centre in Presevo.
20 August - US Ambassador Michael Kirby, accompanied by the Defence Minister Gašić, visited the Reception center in Presevo.
24 August - The Government of the Republic of Serbia has adopted Conclusion which allow local government units, which witnessed increased number of migrants on their teritory, to provide funds from the budget of the Republic of Serbia. Means are to ensure adequate and human answer to migrants, based on the need assessment.
27 August - The donation of 3.000 blankets and two toilet containers from the the UNHCR has been distributed to the Point for urgent reception of migrants in Kanjiža.
28 August- Centre for Public Health Kanjiža and representatives of the Government of Vojvodina visited the Point for urgent reception of migrants in Kanjiza, in order to ensure the smooth functioning of this centre.
29. August- Power Distribution Kanjiža set and joined seven new reflectors and provide additional lighting and facilitate the functioning of centre.
1 September - The Charitable fund of the Serbian Orthodox Church - ’Philantrophy’ delivered two toilet containers.
- Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, Kori Udovički, visited the Point for urgent reception of migrants in Kanjiža.
- Delivery of the two aditional containers at the Point for urgent reception of migrants in Kanjiža, donated by the the UNHCR, has been provided.
3 september – Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić, Ministers Vulin and Stefanović, accompained by Minister for European Affairs of Bavaria, have visited the Point for urgent reception of migrants in Kanjiža.
4 September - Conclusion of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, granting the operating plan, has been adopted. Government reviewed the measures and proposals for further action due to the increased influx of migrants.
8 – 9 September - Commissariat for Refugees and Migration organized two-day training on asylum with the trustees of refugees and migration and providided them information on the possible opening of temporary accommodation centers for migrants on the territory of their municipalities and cities.
8 September - Commissioner for Refugees and Migration met with representatives of the Delegation of the European Union during his visit to the One Stop Centre in Presevo.
- Meeting on improving the capacity of the camp, the relocation of existing tents for better rationalization of space in Kanjiža was held with representatives of the UNHCR, Norwegian Church Aid and the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration.
10 September - Commissioner Vladimir Cucić with representatives of diplomatic core and the UNHCR visited One Stop Centre in Presevo. On that occasion, Commissioner introduced participants on current situation, procedures and challenges which Republic of Serbia is dealing with, as with needs and other forms of further cooperation.
16 September - Commissioner opened Transit Center for migrants in the building of the former children’s hospital ’Principovac’ at the town of Sid, which is intended for acceptance and emergency assistance to migrants who move to the Croatian border. Commissioner for Refugees and Migration Vladimir Cucić visited this Center and made sure that everything functions properly.
19 September - The Serbian government adopted the Conclusion on the opening of a special purpose account to collect donations and to identify ways of using donations for migrants.
20 September - Deputy Commissioner Svetlana Velimirović represented the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration, which, led by Minister Aleksandar Vulin, was part of the Serbian delegation at the meeting in Brussels dedicated to increased influx of migrants.
21 September - Meeting with the heads of the asylum centers and representatives of non-governmental organizations to comply the needs with donations. The managers of the centers outlined their current capacities and how they could be improved.
21 September – Local trustees for Refugees and Migration joined their colleagues from the Commissariat to help in the reception centers. Among the first to help is Ismet Ademovski, trustee from the town of Beocin.
23 September - Leaders of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration and the State Secretary of the Ministry of Labor, Employment, and Social Issues, Dr. Nenad Ivanisevic, met in the Palace of Serbia with representatives of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) and the Subcommittee on Human and Minority rights (DROI) of the European Parliament. The topic was the current situation with migrants. Senior officials congratulated Serbia on the efforts and humanity in terms of solving the problem of migrants and the care during their stay in the territory of RS.
25 September - Johannes Hahn, commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Welfare Aleksandar Vulin, visited the transit center Principovac near Sid, intended for acceptance and emergency assistance to migrants who move to Croatian border. On this occasion all the officials were convinced that Serbia fulfills its obligations and respect the human rights of migrants.
28 September - Minister of Labor, Employment, and Social Issues of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vulin, together with the Commissioner for Refugees and Migration Vladimir Cucić, visited the temporary reception center Principovac at Sid. Minister Vulin, during handover of the winter clothes and other humanitarian assistance, highlighted that people from the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration, the Red Cross and others, work and care for migrants as they did in the first days of the crisis.
29 September - Stephan Sellen, Deputy Director General, Directorate General for Loans and Social Development, Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and Grzegorz Krzewski, CEB Country Manager for Serbia, together with the representatives of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration, visited the temporary reception center Principovac near the town of Šid. The officials have expressed their readiness to assist Serbia in overcoming the situation of increased influx of migrants.
30 September - Donor coordination meeting on migration, which was attended by representatives of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration Commissioner Vladimir Cucić and Deputy Commissioner Svetlana Velimirović, was held in Belgrade. The aim of the meeting was to inform the donor community about the current situation in Serbia following the mass influx of migrants and the needs of Serbia for international assistance. The meeting was co-chaired by the Minister without portfolio responsible for European integration, the national IPA coordinator and coordinator of the donor`s aid, Jadranka Joksimovic, and Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Issues and the president of the Group for solving the problem of mixed migration flows, Aleksandar Vulin.
30 September - 550 beds were delivered to Reception Center in Presevo as a continuation of last week’s delivery of 700 sets of bed sheets and 350 pillows, within the assistance package worth close to 240,000 euros, which was provided by the European Union and the Swiss Government. Through the development program European PROGRESS in September ten metal grid waste containers for PET waste material, water tank and 15 mobile toilets were delivered to the center. The submitted items will help the Centre to take care of the most vulnerable refugees and to meet the basic hygienic and sanitary conditions necessary for receiving people.
30 September - Hollywood actor Orlando Bloom, as a UNICEF ambassador, supported the migrants and visited them in the Reception Center in Presevo. On this occasion he visited the ’children’s corners’ in the camp.
1 October 2015 - Commissioner Vladimir Cucić held a meeting with the Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office for Serbia Isabel Perich. She expressed the willingness of the Swiss Cooperation Office for Serbia that in addition to the now earmarked funds for equipping a Reception center in Presevo, reallocate additional funds from the project “Support to the national coordination for reintegration of returnees Phase II“ in order to provide additional support to the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration for addressing migratory crisis.
2 October 2015 - Representatives of the Swiss Cooperation Office for Serbia, UNHCR and the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration held a meeting. The aim of the meeting was to define the program of support to UNHCR that focus on supporting the Government and civil society to promptly identify and approach to addressing the acute humanitarian and basic needs that arise as a result of the continuous increase in the number of migrants who transit through the Republic of Serbia.
7 October 2015 - In cooperation with the City of Belgrade and the GSP "Belgrade" new bus line was introduced for migrants. Departures are at 10 am and 8 pm in front of the hotel "Bristol" and the bus goes directly to the Centre for asylum seekers in Krnjaca. The same bus transports migrants from Krnjača to downtown at 10:30 am and 8:30 pm.
11 and 12 October 2015 - The second donation within the Mechanism for Civil Protection of the EU in order to improve the position of migrants on the territory of the Republic of Serbia was delivered by the General Inspectorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Romania. Humanitarian aid is consisted of 500 folding beds, 500 mattresses, 1,000 blankets, 2,000 bedclothes, 1,000 pillowcases and 2,500 sleeping bags. The first one donated within this project was delivered by the Government of Hungary on 22 September 2015 and consisted of 50,000 protective masks.
12 October 2015 - Commissariat for Refugees and Migration has sent request to the Republic Property Directorate for allocation of clothing and footwear for distribution of humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable categories of migrants.
12 October 2015 - Frаnce donated seven ablution units, 5,000 blankets and 2 generators. The donation is worth 136,000 US dollars and is intended to help the migrants transiting through the territory of Serbia.
15 October 2015 - Representatives of the Commissariat for Refugees Migration visited locations in Belgrade where migrants stay and provided them necessary information about the possibility of staying in the Center for asylum seekers, which is located in the Belgrade municipality of Palilula, Krnjača. Bus line started to depart every two hours to Krnjače from 11 am to 7 pm.
15 October 2015 - The tents were removed from the park near the bus station, after they were found to be empty. Migrants residing in the park near the Faculty of Economics have been informed about the accommodation at the Centre in Krnjaca, and that after 22 October setting up the tents in the park will not be allowed.
16 October 2015 - Temporary registration center in Bujanovac in the premises of DP ’Svetlost’ was opened. This center will enable registration of 1,500 migrants daily. During the winter period and rain it will provide shelter for about 150 people while being registered.
19 October 2015 - Third donation within the Mechanism for Civil Protection of the EU with the aim of improving the position of migrants who are in the territory of the Republic of Serbia was delivered by the British Government. It was consisted of 11,000 blankets, 500 sleeping bags and 3,000 sleeping pads.
24 October 2015 - Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Welfare Aleksandar Vulin, visited together with Commissioner for Refugees and Migration Vladimir Cucić, migrants in the Centre for asylum seekers in Krnjaca and said that the center has 350 beds for migrants and, if needed, number of beds can reach 1,000.
26 October 2015 – Minister Vulin and Commissioner Cucić visited the temporary reception center Adaševci at Sid. Minister said on this occasion that the refurbishment of temporary reception centers is financed with the help of international organizations and explained that loans or money from the budget of the Republic of Serbia will not be used for this purpose.
30 October 2015 – Closurе of reception center for migrants in Kanjiža. Complete equipment and the rest of humanitarian aid (blankets, mats ...) will be transferred to other reception centers in Subotica, Sombor and Sid (childrens hospital Principovac and former hotel Adaševci).
1 November 2015 - Minister of Labor, Employment and Social Issues Aleksandar Vulin, accompanied by Commissioner for Refugees and Migration Vladimir Ćućić, visited the temporary reception center in Sid and saw the works on the adaptation of the premises, intended to be used for more than 1,000 migrants, mostly women and children. Minister Vulin announced that this center will be put into operation in a few days and that the migrants will be able to wait until they are placed on the trains.
3 November 2015 - The new regime of transferring migrants through Serbian territory and their transport to Croatia started to operate. It is planned that each day four to five trains in Sid accept migrants and in accordance with appropriate procedures to transfer them to Croatia. In Sid, at approximately seven in the morning, arrived first train from Croatia to transport migrants to the town of Slavonski Brod. It was boarded some 1,000 migrants in it. The competent authorities make efforts that all migrants have the valid documents, and provide check-ups several times during their trip to ensure that they are appropriately registered.
3 November 2015 - Temporary reception center Adaševci near the town of Sid began to receive migrants. In the Centre they are provided with assistance and food while waiting to get on the train from Sid to Slavonski Brod in Croatia.
6 November 2015- Fourth donation within the Mechanism for Civil Protection of the EU with the aim of improving the position of migrants on the territory of the Republic of Serbia has been delivered by the Government of Luxembourg. It consists of 5,000 protective masks and 2,600 disposable protective gloves.
7 November 2015 - French senator Jean Yves Leconte, president of the Friendship Group with the Western Balkans in the French Senate, visited the Centre for asylum seekers in Krnjaca. On this occasion he was assured that the Centre functions well and he praised the employees of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration.
10 November 2015 - Previously announced Austrian donation in the framework of the Mechanism for Civil Protection of the European Union, with the aim of improving the position of migrants who are in the territory of the Republic of Serbia, was delivered. This donation comprises 500 pillows and 50,000 gloves.
16 November 2015 – After completion of 2-month works on adaptation and expansion of existing facilities, Aleksandar Vulin, Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Issues, opened the Reception-transit center in Subotica. Center has a capacity of 150 beds and occupies 580 square meters. Existing buildings were renovated and an additional bedroom was built. Old administrative building was repaired and will host medical team. Renovating of the center was financed by the German`s ASB. They invested 150,000 euros and pledged to provide another 100,000 euros from European funds to finance construction of a warehouse within the center. After completion of the migrant crisis renovated building will remain the property of the local government.
17 November 2015 - Tavakol Karman from Yemen, Shirin Ebadi from Iran and Jody Williams of the United States, leaders of peace and human rights organizations, visited the Centre for asylum seekers in Krnjaca. They had talks with migrants housed in the Centre and representatives of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration, who acquainted them about the Center functioning and what kinds of help migrants receive. (photo: Vesna Anđić)
18 November 2015 - Serbian authorities, in line with the countries on the migrant route, introduced a stricter regime of transiting for the migrants and limited the flow of economic migrants. The decision was made to let enter the Serbian territory only migrants who came from countries where their lives were threatened.
18 November 2015 - The Ambassador of Czech Republic to Serbia, Ivana Hlavsova, visited the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia and met with Commissioner Vladimir Cucić. The meeting was organized on the occasion of the donation of the Czech Republic in the amount of 220,000 euros to help the Serbian asylum system.
18 November 2015 - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres visited together with Vladimir Cucić, Commissioner for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia, a temporary reception center in Presevo. There he was familiarized with the procedure and the conditions in which migrants stay. He visited the tent where the migrants fill in the questionnaires, the building in which the migrants are registered, than ambulance, prefabricated houses and tents.
22 November 2015 - Minister of Labor, Employment and Social Issues Aleksandar Vulin visited with Commissioner Vladimir Cucić Center for asylum seekers in Krnjaca. During the visit he stressed that the people here are accepted in the best possible way, that it is warm and there is accommodation for about 350 people.
24 November 2015 - Commissariat for Refugees and Migration, in cooperation with the municipality of Sid, opened a facility for the reception and accommodation of migrants at the train station in Sid. The projected capacity of this facility are 200 beds for longer stays and 100 beds for transit.
2 December 2015 - Vladimir Cucić, Commissioner for Refugees and Migration, was in a field visit with Isabel Peric, Director of the Swiss Agency for Cooperation with Serbia (SDC). They visited centers for asylum seekers in Sid. The visit was also an occasion to consider new project and to discuss the results of the current project funded by the SDC.
4 December 2015 - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia Miroslav Lajcak visited with the Minister of Labor, Employment, and Social Issues Aleksandar Vulin and the Commissioner for Refugees and Migration Vladimir Cucić Reception center for asylum seekers in Krnjaca.
On that occasion Mr. Lajcak handed packages of blankets, mats for lying, raincoats and hygiene items in the amount of 50,000 euros. Slovakia will pay the same amount to the account of the National Bank of Serbia, which was specially opened for funds for assistance to migrants.
Slovak Foreign Minister praised the work of the Serbian government, adding that it is very important for the whole of Europe.
7 December 2015 - Meeting with representatives of the European Commission. It was attended by representatives of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia, the Delegation of the European Union and the European Integration Office.
It was agreed that funds from special measures would be spent on the reconstruction of facilities and increase the accommodation capacity in Krnjaca, Pirot, Dimitrovgrad and Bosilegrad.
Attendees suggested potential additional locations to equip facilities to accommodate migrants.
9 December 2015 - Director of the Office for the programs of emergency response of UNICEF, Afshan Khan, together with the Director of UNICEF in Serbia, Michel Saint-Lot, met with the Deputy Commissioner Svetlana Velimirović at the premises of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia. It was agreed to establish a children’s corner in Dimitrovgrad, reported to witness an increased number of migrants coming from Bulgaria.
11 December 2015 - Minister of Labor, Employment and Social Issues Aleksandar Vulin, Assistant Commissioner for Refugees and Migration Ivan Gerginov and UN Resident Coordinator in Serbia Irena Vojackova Sollorano visited the Reception center "Stanica" in Sid.
Members of the delegation saw that in a reception center in Sid accommodation conditions are at the highest level, and that refugees have the opportunity to sleep and stay as much as they think they need.
17 December 2015 - Minister of Labor, Employment, and Social Issues Aleksandar Vulin, Commissioner for Refugees and Migration Vladimir Cucić and Norwegian Ambassador Arne Sannes Bjornstad Sanes, opened the Center for the reception of migrants in Presevo. It is renovated space in which migrants can stay longer during the winter months.
In a renovated factory hall of the former tobacco industry, in warm conditions, there will be 650 beds migrants. The construction of a permanent accommodation of migrants in Presevo was financed the Kingdom of Norway.
In addition to the rooms for accommodation, toilets, cabins with showers and toilets for the disabled and rooms for accommodation of mothers with children were built.
18 December 2015 - Minister of Labor, Employment, and Social Issues Aleksandar Vulin, Assistant Commissioner for Refugees and Migration Ivan Gerginov and Japanese Ambassador to Serbia Djuici Takahara, visited the new transit center in the village of Miratovac and Reception center for migrants in Presevo, where the Government of Japan has donated hygiene kits, food, medical supplies and medicines for migrants.
In addition, Japan finances adaptation of sanitary facilities in the center of Presevo and the Ambassador to Serbia handed over the keys of two mini buses for mobile teams carrying migrants from Miratovac to Presevo. One vehicle was given to Police.
The Government of Japan has so far allocated 2.7 million dollars to help migrants in Serbia and Macedonia.
26 December 2015 – It was announced that total of 85 million RSD, through the division of 17,000 payment cards, will be paid to the most vulnerable categories of migrants and refugees who enter Serbia. The money was provided thanks to the help of charitable foundation of the Serbian Orthodox Church Covekoljublje.
Migrants will be able to get Dina payment cards in the amount of 5,000 dinars by showing their certificate that they have passed through our system, and they will spend the money for what they need.
1 January 2016 - New Years Eve was celebrated in a working manner by the employees of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration. Since mid-year, when increased influx of migrants has begun, employees of the Commissariat have been working in three shifts at the reception-transit centers and provide all necessary assistance to migrants who pass through Serbia. It was like that as well last night, around 11 pm in the Reception-transit center Sid - Station, where they helped migrants to get on the train to Slavonski Brod in Croatia.
2 January 2016 - Slovenia and Croatia have introduced new rules for transportation and registration of migrants, relating to the reduction of trains capacity for migrants. The Decision stipulates that trains cannot carry more than 940 migrants and must be accompanied by an appropriate list of names and countries of origin.
15 January 2016 - European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Emergency Management Christos Stylianides, together with the Minister for Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Aleksandar Vulin and the Commissioner for Refugees and Migration Vladimir Cucić, visited on Friday 15 January 2016 Reception-transit centers "Adaševci" and "Sid-Station".
In "Adaševci" Commissioner Stylianides inaugurated the extended child-friendly space which is used by mothers and babies for feeding and changing as well as for children to play. Newly enlarged corner offers even more space for mothers and children to relax, and to obtain information and advice on child nutrition, hygiene and safety.
25 January 2016 - Meeting with representatives of the UNHCR in the premises of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia was held, in order to consider all the activities of non-governmental and international organizations on the territory of Šid. Presentation was showed that contains the data from the questionnaires for international and non-governmental organizations in connection with the work in the transit reception centers, which, as of 11 December, was posted on the official website of the Commissariat.
28 January 2016 - Humanitarian organization "Merhamet" from the German city of Bonn delivered aid to persons accommodated at the Asylum Centre in Krnjaca. Delivery was attended, besides the representatives of the Organization, by the representatives of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia and the Center for accommodation of asylum seekers from Tutin.
1 February 2016 - The first coordination meeting for the reception centers in the premises of the Palace of Serbia was held. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia, the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs and of international organizations involved in activities related to the collection centers, as well as those who intend to engage in these activities. Commissioner Vladimir Cucić presented the situation on the ground and performance of organizations and the Commissariat in terms of improved accommodation facilities, with special emphasis on the volume of works, procurement of equipment and funding. Presented activities are in progress, as well as the implemented and planned.
1 February 2016 - Minister of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Aleksandar Vulin and representatives of the international humanitarian organization "Mercy Corps", visited the reception center in Presevo, where the humanitarian organization began distribution of payment cards for migrants. The pilot program will last for two months. Vulnerable migrants will be granted 1,600 Master Card credit cards. In addition to migrants, a number of payment cards will be also given to our citizens who belong to the socially vulnerable.
The whole project is worth 270,000 EUR and will be implemented in the next two months. Value cards of 210 euros will be given to families, and of 70 euros to individuals.
5 February 2016 - Representatives of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Serbia, Deputy Ambassador Mariel van Miltenburg and adviser Aleksandar Momirov, visited the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia and met with Commissioner Vladimir Cucić and Svetlana Velimirović, Deputy Commissioner. The aim of the visit was to harmonize the details related to the visit of Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Elizabet Ploumen.
10 February 2016 - Morten Skovgaard Hansen, the Embassy of Denmark in Serbia Charge D`Affaires, met with the Commissioner Vladimir Cucic at the premises of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia. The topic of the meeting was current migratory crisis.
16 February 2016 - Two family pavilions for temporary accomodation of 350 migrants were established at the One Stop Centre in Presevo, as well as the Child Friendly Space, new ambulance, new 900 m2 warehouse, pre-registration space which can accommodate 250 people, laundry and bus stop for the organized transport of migrants. This completes the second phase of reconstruction of the building, which was financed by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
16 February 2016 - Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen today donated 4 ambulance vehicles and 4.000 sleeping bags for assistance to migrants in Serbia. This is the Dutch donation to the Commissariat for Refugees of Serbia and Ploumen, after visiting the railway station in Sid, said that the cooperation of all parties is important so that the refugees transiting through Serbia would be accommodated. Before this Ploumen visited Refugee Aid Points in Adasevci and Sid. The Dutch Minister also met with the Commissariat for Refugees, UNHCR, UNDP, Red Cross and NGO’s dealing with refugees in order to get an update on the developments in the field.
18 February 2016 - Police chiefs from Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria agreed on Thursday to introduce joint registration of refugees crossing from Greece into Macedonia and organize their transport from the border straight to Austria. The process will identify and take biometric data from the migrants and determine whether they come from countries deemed dangerous, such as Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan. It will not grant them status as asylum seekers, a step that will take place in Austria or whatever other country they might travel to.
18 February 2016 - Representatives of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia are present in the Belgrade park non-stop, which, together with the presence of non-governmental organizations providing assistance to migrants.
22 February 2016 - The police chiefs of Austria, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia agreed to organize the joint profiling of migrants. That means that migrants from countries deemed dangerous, such as Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan will be able to move through the West Balkan route, only with the certificate from the Greece-Macedonian border who has the corresponding stamp and proper photograph.
22 February 2016 – In the premises of the Palace of Serbia was held the donation conference with the aim of collecting financial means for equipping and accommodation capacity building, additional staff engagement and meeting the floating needs of migrants.
27 February 2016 - 4.258 migrants have passed through Serbia since 22. February and establishment of the new measures in the West Balkan route. This is a significantly smaller number compared to the previous period. Migrants continue to be cared for and everyone gets food and shelter.
8 March 2016 - Serbia was informed that Croatia and Slovenia, as of midnight, began to implement the new regime of entry into the Schengen zone. As of 9 March, those two countries will not receive migrants without valid visas and passports. This means that "Balkan route" is effectively closed for migrants.
10 March 2016 - A delegation of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly visited the Reception-transit center "Adaševci". The delegation was welcomed and showed the Center by the minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Aleksandar Vulin and Assistant Commissioners for Refugees and Migration Ivan Gerginov and Danijela Popović Rocco.
Minister Vulin thanked guests from NATO for their interest and, as he said, for their respect being showed on a daily basis for the policy of the Government of Serbia and everything which has been done for migrants.