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Serbia relocates refugees due to growing risk of disease

Image of refugees in Serbia on 31st March 2017 [protest_global/Twitter]
Image of refugees in Serbia on 31st March 2017 [protest_global/Twitter]

After months living in an abandoned military barracks in the Serbian capital Belgrade, authorities have told refugees that they have to move to official reception centres across the country due to the growing risk of disease.

Activists have raised concerns over the move, questioning whether the refugees would be locked in the centres and if they would have access to the rights they’ve been guaranteed. Those who do not have official documents could be told to leave Serbia.

Since neighbouring countries closed their borders in March 2016, over 7,000 refugees and migrants have been stranded in Serbia. Some 1,000 people sleep in warehouses and parks across the capital. Those who do not want to stay in Serbia do not register as refugees in the country.

In November Real Medicine Foundation treated over 1,000 patients for body lice and scabies and reported that a high number of refugees in Belgrade’s city centre are considered “extremely vulnerable individuals”.

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