Belgrade, May 23rd 2018 – Results of projects funded by the Federal Republic of Germany (GFM) and ASB Bavaria were presented at the Press Centre of the Association of Serbian Journalists in Belgrade. Both projects were related to migrant crisis on the Balkan Route in Serbia, Greece and Macedonia and were presented by Arbeiter – Samariter -Bund (ASB) and Initiative for Development and Cooperation (IDC). Perspectives for future support of migrants in Serbia like integration, education and health were also debated during the event.
In addition to the organizers, representatives of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migrations of the Republic of Serbia, Embassy of Germany, UNHCR, European Union Delegation, Ministry of Health, Health Institutions and World Health Organization attended the discussion.
“Especially before the crisis it is very important to have completed ideas and finished plans. What we need to talk about is whether we had ideas and plans with which we faced the challenges and what kind of change this crisis has caused, “said Mr. Gordan Velev, ASB director for Serbia, and thanked the German institutions and organizations on the financial assistance they provided to Serbia during a three-year struggle with the migrant crisis.
The total value of assistance provided by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany to migrants through these two organizations during September 2015 – June 2018 was about 3 million Euros. Thanks to these funds, thousands of refugees / migrants who went through Serbia received assistance.
“We are aware that migration crisis has been challenge for Serbia as the country that is strongly and most affected by the movements along the western Balkans route. Although today, the number of people arriving in Serbia has dropped, but those who are here, stay considerable longer and therefore we need structural solutions, “said Ms. Catrin Czyganowski, representative of the German Embassy in Serbia and underlined that Germany would continue to support Serbia on its path to membership in the European Union.
Since the beginning of migration crisis in Serbia in 2015, the Government of Germany, in cooperation with ASB, constructed two shelters for migrants in Subotica and Dimitrovgrad with capacity of 500 beds and provided 250,000 meals, 10,000 baby food parcels, medicines and medical supplies.
Representative of the Serbian Commissariat for Refugees and Migrations Mr. Ivan Gerginov expressed gratitude to the German Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for years backwards:
“We are in constant contact with colleagues in the region regarding migration management, integration of returnees and asylum seekers. We were in Bosnia, we know that the route is changing, but as we already were in the same position, we will be proud to share our experience and knowledge to those who need it. ”
He adds that the budget for Commissariat is planned at a yearly basis but notes that it is not possible to predict the influx of migrants and that it is important that then there are flexible capacities and cooperation with the non-governmental sector.
UNHCR head of mission in Serbia Mr. Hans Friedrich Schodder said that despite the successful overcoming of the migration crisis, international cooperation must continue.
“Germany has become one of the biggest bilateral supporter, also of UNHCR globally for humanitarian aids, thanks to whom UNHCR was able to strongly support Serbian government in the emergency response to the crisis. We have no indication that we will have another migration movement as it was in 2015 but of course we will continue to work together with the Government of Serbia and our partners “said Schodder.
Projects activities were implemented in more than 30 locations in Serbia, Greece and FYR of Macedonia were migrants were supported with shelter, food supplies, clothing and medical assistance while the local communities and migrant reception centers with transport vehicles, furniture and improved sanitation facilities.
IDC Executive Director Miodrag Nedeljkovic pointed out how important the role of German donors was in the medical segment during the migration crisis and added the importance of volunteer support since the beginning of migrant wave.
The project “Supporting migrants /refugees with medical assistance, food and hygiene during the extended stay in the Republic of Serbia” is implemented by the German NGO Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB) with its partners from Serbia (IDC), FYROM (Preda Plus) and Greece (ARSIS) and financed by the German Foreign Ministry (GFM). The “Our Community Infirmary” project is implemented by the Initiative for Development and Cooperation (IDC) and financed by ASB Bavaria.
Implementation of the activities took place through close cooperation between ASB and IDC with the Commissariat for Refugees and Migrations of the Republic of Serbia, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in RS, UNHCR, European Union Delegation in RS, Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans Affairs and Social Affairs, Ministry of Health, local self-government as well as with other international and domestic actors providing assistance to migrants.
ASB is a German aid and welfare organisation, engaged in areas such as civil protection, rescue services and social welfare services. As a non-political organisation, ASB has, since its foundation in 1888, provided rapid and direct help to all those in need of our support.
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