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#Bosnia & #Serbia: Unprotected, attacked and shot at across the Balkan Route

Bosnia and Herzegovina — According to several statements and different local sources, on Tuesday night of this week, there was an attack by so-far unidentified, reportedly local, individuals against a dozen people staying in one of the secluded squats in the Velika Kladuša area, in northern Bosnia and Herzegovina . The boys, who were preparing to go to bed, also reported that they were shouted at, and following that several gunshots were fired at the shabby wooden shack where they were staying.

Originally published by Are You Syrious.

Nobody came to investigate, ask if they are alright, care for their wellbeing as seekers of international protection…

People on the move are still being left alone to find their own ways to cope, means to survive and places to stay, with not much worry being expressed clearly by the international organisations present in Bosnia and Herzegovina, or other cantons, or the federal government. While the ball is being tossed from one side to the other and money is being spent in not always transparent ways and often not the best way, given the state of things, people are dying. People are afraid, cold, hungry, desperate, psychologically very vulnerable, and left without any choice but to try again and again to leave the country, being further beaten and abused at the borders and inside the EU Member states which show no solidarity either to the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or to the people who are stuck there with barely any protection. On a daily basis, the people on the move who gather in several places across town are being threatened especially by several well-known locals, who have demonstrated all kinds of violent behaviour, constantly calling the police for no reason, who then detain and beat up the boys who have only so many options, being left alone by everyone except for those individuals willing to help and support them, drawing a kind of bullseye on their back as well. No official reactions so far.

In Tuzla, after reports of hair salons refusing to welcome clients who were basically youth on the move, and restaurants and bars who denied them entry, now more racist attacks are being reported by the locals. While there is a substantial number of locals in Tuzla active and present on a daily basis in aiding and helping people in transit during their stay in Tuzla, there is a growing hostility documented across the country, including here. This week an Afghan boy entered a cafe to order coffee only to be attacked by an older local man, who threatened him and kept verbally attacking him. The young man did not react to the harassment that was, reportedly, witnessed by a number of locals and representatives of the international organisations present.

Belgrade, Serbia — Organisations have called for protection of the people in transit and those who are asylum seekers in Serbia, all of whom are exposed to violence and threats

In the collective call they published, the organisations say that the threats, intimidation and violence that has been carried out by individuals and informal groups over the past few weeks, targeting refugee and migrant communities, as well as the spreading of hate present in the public sphere, in media coverage and individual media communications, all can have unsurmountable consequences for the security, health and benefit of the children and adults who were forced to leave their countries precisely because of the violence and insecurity. These violations go against the national laws and they are in contrast with the international conventions, including the Charter of the Human Rights, whose signatory is Serbia. This also opposes the significant results Serbia has achieved in providing support to these people, and this is also why these practices must be stopped, as the orgranisations have stated.

It is extremely important that all members of the society, individuals as well as those active in public and political life, act with the aim of promoting and protecting human rights so as to stop the threats, intimidation and violence directed at refugees and migrants, and prevent any similar incidents in the future.

They called for immediate reactions from the authorities and an efficient manner for sanctioning the unlawful actions by the individuals and groups.

The authorities must act to prevent and sanction such actions, so that they can work continuously to secure a safe place for all people. This could be done by more a constant presence of the police patrols in the places where people on the move stay, as well as other measures that would decrease the risks of those people whenever they are outside the centres.

With their unprofessional reporting, as well as their publishing of not-checked and unclear information, the media often take part in spreading messages of hate, thus contributing to the spread of fear and hate. It is necessary for the media to hold to the professional code of conduct of journalists in Serbia, and to rely on relevant sources of information, such as institutions and organisations, both at the national level, and those of the civil society who provide support to the refugees and migrants.

The signatories of this documents are the following organisations active in Serbia:

Centar za Integraciju Mladih
Centar za Kriznu Politiku i Reagovanje
Info Park
Jesuit Refugee Service
Mreža psihosocijalnih inovacija
Save the Children International

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