Asylum seekers are not criminals to be detained

We can not stop the global migration, or the construction of walls and setting up barbed wire fences at the border of Serbia would be the solution for combating illegal immigration, even if it was acceptable and possible, says Ombudsman Saša Janković. He urges at authorities not to wait to exacerbate this problem. The data indicate an increasing number of migrants from countries of Asia and Africa, and on the way to the most developed EU countries, they pass through Serbia. Instead, we should increase the capacity for the reception of those who seek asylum here. - Of course it is necessary to have money for it, but I know that the EU has at its disposal resources that could be used for this. These days, we had a meeting in Belgrade, where we talked about illegal immigration - says Janković.

He says that, as the Ombudsman, he is in charge of foreigners who come into contact with the authorities of Serbia, and revealed illegal migrants are certainly those. - These people are not criminals to be apprehended and kept in some kind of indoor facilities, camps. Their right to freedom of movement must be respected. Everyone has the right to come to Serbia, seek asylum and leave our country. It is true that in some EU countries there is restrictive practice, which is unacceptable - says Janković. His associates are also in charge for visiting the asylum center in Banja Koviljača and Bogovađa. Serbia is planning to open a third center, but the decision about the location has not been made yet. – Asylum Centers in Serbia must be of adequate capacity and quality of accommodation, so that would not disrupt the quality of life of local people - said Janković.

Such Centre would provide dozens of jobs. Recently, people in the area of Mladenovac were disturbed, when the rumors had emerged that an abandoned military barracks will be converted into a Centre for asylum seekers.

- We need to break the prejudices. I do not see why someone who went in search of a better life, would be in greater risk of some citizens of Serbia. Do not forget the experience of our compatriots who were exiled or went abroad looking for work. Therefore we should gather our strength and accept those who are now in such situation – says Janković.

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