Skip to content
Sma BW_Zeichenfläche NEU

I spent the month of October in Serbia at the Croatian border working in a refugee camp. Most of the time we are in a single-guy camp, making tea and coffee for people and giving them a space where they can just be. We have a ping pong table, lots of games and coloring materials. I am happy about every smiling face there. Unfortunately, the atmosphere in the tent with us stands in harsh contrast to the reality of residents’ lives. Most of them are very young – around 20 on average. The youngest I met was 11! These people have dreams for their future, they want to learn things, build their own lives. Instead, they spend years trying to get across borders. When they arrive in Serbia, they are usually already 2-5 years on the road. What will become of you if, in the time when you should be learning, when you should be starting to realize your life dreams, you learn that no one wants you. That you only ever get across some border in a hidden way, only to find yourself in the next camp?

Journalist Paul Middelhof was on the Balkan route at the same time and reports on the catastrophic conditions, on border installations and push-backs, i.e. the illegal pushing back of refugees by national border authorities and the use of targeted violence by border authorities. “Human rights organizations even speak of torture.”*

“The states along the route […] perceive migration as a crisis and as a danger that needs to be averted, and that’s why the attempt is to get rid of people as quickly as possible towards the north or not to let them into the country in the first place. The EU, in turn, is trying to live up to its own lofty moral standards, announcing that it will fight smuggling networks and step up border surveillance even further.”* According to Paul Middelhof, at a meeting of German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser with government members of the Western Balkan states, high moral standards were formulated, but the real goal was to reduce the number of people arriving. So, once again, it is not about the humanitarian crisis in the Balkans, i.e. how to help the people there, but how best to prevent people from arriving somewhere where they can also live. It’s always about strengthening Frontex – the organization that is responsible for many push-backs.

This inhuman fortification must stop immediately! Let us counteract the suffering on the Balkan route! Let’s work to ensure that people can come to Germany without risking their lives! With a state admission program in Saxony, we can spare at least a few people this dangerous route and thereby exercise help instead of isolation.


text by: Birte Geerds


*Nachrichten-Podcast “Was jetzt?”, 23.11.2022, 4:20min

 *Nachrichten-Podcast “Was jetzt?”, 23.11.2022, 4:36min