Women in Black visit Refugees in Belgrade

On Thursday February 2nd, we visited refugees in the barracks. We brought biscuits, wet wipes, soups and some bottled water. In distribution we had a help from several men from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The number of people in the barracks is impossible to determine. Some of them with whom we talked are in Serbia for more than 5 months and several times they tried to cross the border into Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia. Mostly they talked that the police in Bulgaria, Hungary and Croatia are very aggressive and that they were beaten in attempts to cross the border. Some of them are sick, and they need medication.

The conditions in which they live in Belgrade are inhuman. Inside the barracks with the help of activists, they made ovens. Most of them makes food by themselves, because the food they receive is mostly the same everyday and it is impossible to eat. They sleep on dirty floors and have no requirements for personal hygiene. They need food, as well as wardrobe and mattresses, blankets and other items needed for sleep and to get warm.

Groups that were captured in Slovenia and Romania were not physically mistreated by the police, but they are deported back to Serbia. We learned that the camp in Obrenovac is well equipped by the DRC. It has 550 beds. There is also a daily bus transportation to Belgrade and back to camp. The food is provided by the Red Cross of Serbia and is of poor quality. It will soon be replaced by Hot Food Idomeni.

The situation is generally slightly better, because the weather conditions have improved, and after a month the temperature was above zero. Fortunately, during this period there were no deaths due to hypothermia. There were more cases of hospitalization due to acute poisoning with smoke from fires that they were setting inside the barracks to keep warm. In addition to the barracks three large tents with heating and beds were erected. These are made by MSF, two for minors, and the third for refugees in need of hospitalization.

Those refugees who have papers, who are in the asylum system of Serbia, have the right to medical assistance and hospitalization. Others, who do not have papers, and a large majority in the barracks don’t have them, are not entitled to hospitalization and hospitals accept them only if they are in emergencies condition, if they are life-threatening situation. Medical assistance on the spot is provided by MSF, as well as RDF, who are on duty at night.

WIB, Belgrade

Women in Black is an international network of feminists-antimilitarists