Access to the territory and push backs

Serbia

Country Report: Access to the territory and push backs Last updated: 30/11/20

Author

Belgrade Centre for Human Rights Visit Website

Access to the territory in the green border zone

 

In 2019 the presence of civil society organisations at the border significantly dropped. The number of reports on pushbacks and collective expulsions committed by the hands of Serbian border authorities in the green area with North Macedonia, Bulgaria and Montenegro decreased, which does not mean that this practice ceased to exist. The best example for this is that for the first time, the BCHR’s annual report does not contain a dedicated chapter on access to territory.[1] Also, other implementing partners of UNHCR which are present on the daily basis at reception centres in border areas have not published a single report on border practices or testimonies collected by those who might have been informally expelled to one of the neighbouring states. The same can be said for CSOs in the neighbouring/receiving states who so far have not disclosed any findings or testimonies by refugees and asylum seekers on this issue, which was not the case in previous years.[2]

In August and September 2019, UNHCR reported 187 pushbacks to North Macedonia.[3] The only CSO which published data on these practices was the Asylum Protection Centre (APC), who reported in April 2019 that in the first four months of 2019, a total of 75 refugees and migrants were either pushed back at border or were collectively expelled from the mainland to North Macedonia or Bulgaria.[4] The most striking example of this practice goes as follows:

‘According to Z.D. (27), an Afghan arriving in Serbia via Bulgaria, and I.J.M. (21), a Pakistani coming to Serbia through Macedonia, there was an incident in Vranje that resulted in a collective deportation of six Afghan refugees on January 31st. These refugees were approached by the camp manager and police and asked whether they intended to seek asylum in Serbia. They responded that their intention was to continue their path towards the European Union. They next morning (January 31, 2019 around 6am) the police entered the room where this group of Afghans slept and took six people from the group. The refugees were not told why or where they were being taken, and according to Z.D. and I.J.M., the camp was surrounded by police and there was no possibility of escape. All 6 refugees were put into police vehicles and taken away. When they were released they found themselves in the mountains, and when they got back in touch with their friends in Vranje, they revealed that they were taken to Bulgaria.’[5]

APC’s findings indicate that the denial of access to territory in the green border zone remains a serious issue in Serbia and that the practice of push backs and other forms of collective expulsions continued. Refugees and asylum seekers who were arriving from North Macedonia, Bulgaria and Montenegro were still subject to the practice which implies a short-term deprivation of their liberty, search and denial of access to the basic rights of persons deprived of their liberty.[6] Next, they were removed/ forced back to neighbouring countries without an assessment of their special needs e.g. age, mental or medical state, risks of refoulement, but also the risks of chain refoulement further to Greece or Turkey. They did not have the possibility to apply for a remedy with suspensive effect in order to challenge their forcible removal.[7]

These allegations are further supported by the continuing praises of Serbian officials who continued to publicly present ‘the results’ of Serbian border authorities which imply that border police successfully combats ‘illegal entries’ from neighbouring states.[8] On 26 November 2019, the Head of the Border Police Administration, Mr. Miljan Stanojević, found that in 2019 border police prevented between 20 to 50 illegal entries to Serbia per day.[9] He further noted that, by the end of November 2019, around 15,000 persons were prevented from crossing the border.[10] In this light, it is reasonable to assume that around 16,000 foreigners have been exposed to the practice of arbitrary returns in 2019. Said statements irresistibly correspond to the statements given by the Italian officials during the sea operations at the time when the Hirsi Jamaa v. Italy incident took place.[11] In other words, it is clear that denial of access to the territory represents the State policy which has remained unchanged in 2019.

The above-described practice has been criticised by the Human Rights Committee which expressed its concerns related to “collective and violent” denial of access to territory.[12] These concerns have also been shared by the UN Committee against Torture (CAT)[13] and Amnesty International,[14] while UNHCR had reported this problem for the first time in 2012.[15] In 2015, CAT recommended that Serbia establish “formalized border monitoring mechanisms, in cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and civil society organizations.”[16]

There are several thoroughly documented cases of collective expulsions which BCHR sought to challenge before different national and international instances. The case of attempted collective expulsion from December 2016 is still in the criminal pre-investigative phase,[17] which indicates that it cannot be expected from domestic authorities to address these kinds of practices and that refugees and asylum seekers do not have an effective access to justice and domestic remedies at their disposal.

Another important case which addressed the practice of denial of access to territory and asylum procedure is Hajatolah and Others v. Serbia, [18] currently pending before the Constitutional Court[19] and ECtHR.[20]

An identical practice has been documented at exit points from Serbia to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary and Romania where refugees and asylum seekers are systematically denied access to the territory and the asylum procedure, and are very often subjected to various forms of ill-treatment, some of which might amount to torture.[21] Thus, it is clear that the so-called Western Balkan route represents a region in which refugees and asylum seekers are systematically subjected to collective expulsions and ill-treatment by border authorities. Only in 2019, the UNHCR office in Serbia and its partners documented 1,443 push backs from Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary and Romania encompassing 10,579 persons. Accordingly, every day at least 30 persons were pushed back to Serbia from one of said countries. The vast majority of pushbacks have been done by the Croatian border police (468 pushbacks involving 3,280 persons – 33%), then Hungary (435 pushbacks involving 2,852 persons – 30%), Romania (317 push backs involving 1,857 persons – 21%) and Bosnia (223 push backs involving 2,453 persons – 16%).

Out of the total number, 48% of victims were from Afghanistan, while the remaining ones were from Pakistan, Syria, Iraq and Bangladesh. A total number of 1,134 (11%) unaccompanied and separated children (USAC) were subject to this practice.[22]

On 16 April 2020, 7 migrants drown after a boat carrying 16 migrants overturned on Danube River between the Serbian and Romanian border, near Drobeta Turnu Severin. The Romanian Border Police rescued 8 migrants and a Serbian, allegedly one of the smugglers. The boat carried 18 people, including 2 Serbian nationals (the smugglers).[23]

In April 2019, Serbia and Austria signed an agreement which would allow Austria to send to Serbia refused asylum seekers who had entered from Serbia. Upon their return, they are to be placed in an “adequate” accommodation, for which Vienna will pay. As of April 2020, the agreement has not yet been put in practice and it triggers debates in both Austria,[24] and Serbia.[25]

 

Access to the territory at the Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade

 

The contentious work of the Border Police Station Belgrade (BPSB) at the Nikola Tesla Airport has remained unchanged in 2019.[26] BPSB issued 68 certificates of registration of intention to submit asylum application (‘registration certificate’), which represents a significant decrease in comparison to previous year when 324 registration certificates had been issued. Regardless of the number of persons who were recognised by airport border authorities as individuals who might be in need of international protection, the most burning issue remains unlawful and arbitrary deprivation of liberty and the manner in which decisions on refusal of entry are being issued.[27]

Thus, those foreigners who, according to the assessment of BPSB, do not meet the requirements to enter Serbia are deprived of liberty in the transit zone in a manner that can only be described as unlawful and arbitrary. They remain in that status for as long as the air carrier with which they travelled does not secure a place for their flight back to the departing destination; country of origin or a third country.[28] Their detention can last from several hours up to several weeks.[29] However, BPSB does not consider them as persons deprived of their liberty and thus denies them all the rights they should be entitled to, such as: right to a lawyer, right to inform third person of their whereabouts, the right to an independent medical examination, the right to be served with the decision on deprivation of liberty and the right to lodge an appeal against such decision. Moreover, police officers do not have at their disposal interpreters for the languages which foreigners who might be in need of international protection usually understand, which means that they cannot properly inform them on said rights, including the right to apply for asylum.[30]

In June 2019, the Constitutional Court of Serbia dismissed as manifestly unfounded BCHR’s constitutional appeal submitted on behalf of Iranian refugee H.D.[31] In November 2016, Mr. H.D. was detained at the airport transit zone for 30 days, in a manner that is described in the paragraph above. The Constitutional Court’s reasoning gives serious reason for concern and indicates the lack of capacity of this body to examine violations of Article 5 of ECHR[32] in line with the criteria established in the jurisprudence of the ECtHR.[33] Namely, the Court outlined that the legal framework that had been in force at the time of the applicant’s stay at the airport did not envisage the procedure in which a foreigner can be deprived of liberty in the transit zone. For that reason, H.D.’s claims about unlawful and arbitrary detention could not have been considered as well founded. In other words, the Court failed to conduct an independent test on the existence of deprivation of liberty in the applicant’s case,[34] using the subjective and objective criteria[35] such as the type, duration, effects and manner of implementation of the measure in question.[36] It disregarded completely the fact that Mr. H.D. had been locked in premises at the airport transit zone for 30 days, with limited access to the outside world, without interpretation services and the possibility to hire a lawyer, inform his family on his whereabouts and understand the procedures that would have been applied at him. H.D. was also denied access to asylum procedure. The applicant faced refoulement to Turkey, and further [chain-refoulement] to Iran. Eventually, ECtHR granted the Rule 39 request, submitted by the BCHR.[37]

In order to strategically tackle the above-described practice, the BCHR lodged an application to the ECtHR in December 2019, claiming violations of Article 5-1-f, 5-2, 5-4 and 5-5 of the ECHR.

The final consequence of this flawed practice is that people who might be in need of international protection could be denied access to territory and sent back to third countries or countries of origin where they could face persecution or torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment. In other words, they are denied access to the territory and the asylum procedure in an arbitrary manner and without examining the risks of refoulement.[38] More precisely, since the new Foreigners Act came into force in October 2018, foreigners are served with a decision on refusal of entry (see section on Procedures)[39] in the procedure that lacks any guarantees against refoulement, without the possibility to use services of a lawyer and an interpreter, and lodge an appeal with the suspensive effect.[40]

The Ministry of Interior has stopped delivering data on the number of returns from the airport in the above-described manner. Despite numerous information requests from BCHR, the Ministry has remained silent to the time of the conclusion of this report.

However, according to the information obtained from Government’s Office for Human Rights,[41] BPSB rendered 1,909 decisions on refusal of entry in the period 1 January to 1 October 2019. Out of the total number, the nationalities which could be of interest for this report (due to their origin) are the following: Turkey (317), Burundi (29), Cuba (14), Iran (10), Iraq (8), Syria (8), Palestine (1) and Afghanistan (1). As for the receiving states from which persons in need of international protection are usually arriving,[42] from the principle of non-refoulement perspective, these are the most contentions one: Turkey (693 returns), UAE (35), Qatar (29), Greece (20), Iran (2) and Lebanon (2). In the past, BCHR lawyers prevented several airport expulsions of prima facie refugees to Turkey,[43] UAE[44] and Greece.[45]

During 2019, BCHR lawyers continued to have access to those people in the transit zone who had explicitly asked for Centre’s support. Accordingly, since April 2018, the Ministry of Interior has started issuing temporary entry cards for the transit zone to BCHR lawyers who were addressed via email or cell-phone by foreigners detained at the airport. The main condition for access to transit zone was that lawyers had to know the exact name of the person detained. Otherwise, the Ministry would not allow unimpeded access to a person who claimed to be in need of international protection but who could not directly contact BCHR. Thus, this practice still does not mean that all the persons who are denied access to the territory at the airport are provided with legal counselling since not all of them speak English, nor do they all have access to phones or internet. Accordingly, very often, the people who would receive counsel from BCHR lawyer at the airport would state that there are dozens of others who are detained and would wish to apply for asylum or receive additional information on their legal possibilities in Serbia.

Without trying to dispute an obvious improvement in the practice of BPSB (which is embodied through the issuance of temporary entry cards) the only way to secure the respect for human rights of all the foreigners who arrive at Nikola Tesla Airport and who claim to be in need of international protection would be to grant BCHR and other lawyers unhindered access to the entire transit zone, including the detention premises. Additionally, BPSB should start providing information leaflets containing the list of rights and obligations that foreigners have in Serbia. These leaflets should also include a short description of the procedures that could be possibly applied to them, including the expulsion procedure. By combining these two, BPSB would guarantee the respect for the principle of non-refoulement, maintain control of entry and stay on Serbian soil,[46] and establish a partnership with the qualified lawyers who could assist them in making the right decision in every individual case.

To conclude, it is clear that there is an obvious need to establish a border monitoring mechanism at the airport which should be done jointly by UNHCR, NGOs and representatives of the Ministry of Interior.[47] The Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Mr. Nils Melzer, highlighted in his preliminary observations on his 2017 visit the following:[48]

“During my visit, I noted that the considerations based on which the Border Police had decided to refuse a person's entry and to return them to the airport of departure were not documented with sufficient precision in individual case files, and that the deportation decision did not appear to be subject to a legal remedy involving an evaluation of the risk of refoulement to a situation where the person in question might be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. All seven persons held at in the transit zone at the time of my visit, two Turkish, two Iranian and three Indian nationals, claimed that their rights had not been explained to them.

While fully recognizing the sovereign right of Serbia to control immigration, I am seriously concerned that refusals of entry and, more importantly, deportation decisions based on the personal perception of individual border guards, if not properly documented and subjected to independent judicial review, bears a great risk of arbitrariness and, in certain cases, may well result in refoulement to situations or places where persons may be exposed to the risk of torture or other ill-treatment.”[49]

 

Refusal of entry under the Foreigners Act

 

On 3 October 2018, the new Foreigners Act came into force, introducing a novelty regarding the competences of border authorities. Namely, Article 15 envisages that the Border Police should refuse entry into the Republic of Serbia to a foreigner if that person:

  • Does not have a valid travel document or visa, if required;
  • Does not have sufficient means of subsistence during his stay in the Republic of Serbia, for return to his country of origin or transit to another country, or is not in other ways provided with subsistence during his stay in Serbia;
  • Is in transit, but does not meet the criteria for entry into the next country of transit or country of final destination;
  • Has been issued a protective measure of removal, security measure of expulsion, or a ban on entry into the Republic of Serbia, which is in effect;
  • Does not have a certificate of inoculation or other proof of good health, if coming from areas affected by an epidemic of infectious diseases;
  • Does not have travel medical insurance for the intended period of stay in Serbia.

Entry should be refused by issuing a decision on refusal of entry on a prescribed form,[50] unless it is established that there are humanitarian reasons or interest for the Republic of Serbia to grant an entry, or if the international commitments of the Republic of Serbia indicate otherwise.[51] The foreigner can lodge an appeal to the border authority against the decision,[52] but the appeal does not have suspensive effect.[53] This basically means that the foreigner will have to wait for the decision on his or her appeal in the country in which he or she is expelled, which clearly indicates that this remedy is theoretical and illusory.[54]

The Foreigners Act contains the entire set of principles which aim to guarantee the respect of non-refoulement in all forcible removal procedures, including the one regarding the decision on refusal of entry. Article 75 provides that the competent authority should take into consideration the specific situation of vulnerable persons, family and health status of the person being returned, as well as the best interests of a child,[55] specific position of people with disabilities,[56] family unity,[57] etc. If necessary, during the return procedure, an interpreter should be provided for a language that the foreigner understands, or is reasonably assumed to understand.[58] Additionally, the competent authority should, at the foreigner’s request, provide written translation of the provision of the decision on return, translation of the ban on entry if issued, and translation of the legal remedy into a language that the foreigner understands or may be reasonably assumed to understand.[59] Furthermore, Article 83 envisages that a foreigner may not be forcibly removed to a territory where he would be under threat of persecution on the grounds of his race, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, religion, nationality, citizenship, membership of a particular social group or his political views, unless he or she represent a treat for national security or public order.[60] Regardless of the existence of such exceptions, Article 83(3) strictly prohibits foreigners’ removal to a territory in which they would be under risk of death penalty or torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

While noting that all the prescribed guarantees against refoulement represent an encouraging sign, the introduction of the concept of refusal of entry into the new Foreigners Act still gives a lot of reasons for concern. This concern is derived from the current practice of the Ministry of Interior at the airport transit zone, and in the border areas with Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro which is based on regular push backs which are being praised by the highest state officials. Thus, after the new Foreigners Act came into force, the practice of denial of access to territory partially took a different shape which is equally harmful as the one that has existed before. In other words, denial of access to territory is now based on pushbacks, but also on decisions that cannot be effectively challenged before the competent judicial authority since the appeal does not have automatic suspensive effect.[61] Also, the guarantees against refoulement that are introduced in the Foreigners Act had existed in the Serbian legal framework before this Act came into force.[62] However, they were not applied properly, and there are plenty of documented cases where prima facie refugees were denied access to territory regardless of the risks in the receiving states (most notably in Bulgaria and North Macedonia).

According to the statistical data obtained by the Government’s Human Rights Office,[63] in the period from 1 October 2018 to 1 October 2019, the Regional Border Centre at the border with Bulgaria refused entry to 32 Syrians, 12 Iraqis, 2 Afghanis, 3 Libyans and 1 Somalian, Palestinian and Iranian. Not a single appeal was submitted against such decision, nor did these people enjoy legal assistance.[64]

On 10 February 2019, a Burundi citizen M.F. addressed the BCHR stating that he had been detained at the airport transit zone for 4 days. He stated that he wanted to apply for asylum but was denied that possibility by the police. Eventually, he was issued the decision on refusal of entry and was sent back to Qatar, after which the contact was lost.[65] This case gives serious reasons for concern, taking in consideration that Qatari authorities have been criticized in the latest CAT’s findings for detaining irregular migrants in inhumane and degrading conditions and for the purpose of forced return without adequate assessment of the risks of refoulement.[66]

On 21 February 2019, a high-profile political refugee from Turkey was automatically served a decision on refusal of entry and was about to be returned to Qatar and [possibly] further to Turkey. Only after BCHR’s intervention he was received a registration certificate and allowed access to territory and asylum procedure.[67]

In order for the Foreigners Act to be applied fully in line with the principle of non-refoulement, it is necessary to conduct a thorough training of all the border officials who will be entitled to render a decision on refusal of entry. Additionally, all the Regional Border Centres should have in their ranks interpreters for Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Pashtu, Turkish, Kurdish and other languages that foreigners that might be in need of international protection understand. Also, a person who is about to be denied access to territory should be afforded adequate and free of charge legal assistance. And finally, the implementation of the Foreigners Act should be made transparent and border monitoring activities, which were recommended by CAT, would dispel any existing doubts on the flawed practices of border authorities.

It is also worth mentioning that in light of the recent ECtHR judgment in M.A. v. Lithuania, the Foreigners Act should be amended and automatic suspensive effect of the appeal against the decision on refusing the entry should be introduced.

 


[1] BCHR, Right to Asylum in the Republic of Serbia 2019, BCHR, Belgrade 2020, available at: http://bit.ly/2PYg1rd.

[2] AIDA, Country Report Serbia, 2018 Update, March 2019, 16.

[3] UNHCR, Serbia-September 2019, available at: http://bit.ly/2TBDJvs.

[4] APC, Forced refugee push backs to Macedonia from January to April 2019, available at: http://bit.ly/2TkF1LP.

[5] Ibid.

[6]Right to a lawyer, right to inform a third person on their situation and whereabouts and right to an independent medical examination.

[7] ECtHR, M.A. v. Lithuania, Application No 59793/17, Judgment of 11 December 2018, EDAL, available at: https://bit.ly/2txDq72, paras 83-84.

[8] AIDA, Country Report Serbia, 2018 Update, March 2019, p. 16-18.

[9] BETA, ‘MUP: Na dnevnom nivou spreči se ilegalni ulazak 2’0 do 50 ilegalnih migranata’, 26 November 2019, available (in Serbian) at: http://bit.ly/2TdLuYL.

[10] Ibid.

[11] ECtHR, Hirsi Jamaa and others v. Italy, Application No 27765/09, Judgment of 23 February 2012, EDAL, available at: https://bit.ly/2GVSYtm, para 13.

[12] Human Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the third periodic report of Serbia*, 10 April 2017, CCPR/C/SRB/CO/3.

[13] CAT, Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Serbia, 3 June 2015, CAT/C/SRB/CO/2*, para 15.

[14] Amnesty International, Europe’s Borderlands: Violations against refugees and migrants in Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary, July 2015, available at: https://bit.ly/1dLK66T, 31-34.

[15] UNHCR, Serbia as country of asylum, August 2012, available at: https://bit.ly/2SevotT, para 13.

[16] CAT, Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Serbia, 3 June 2015, CAT/C/SRB/CO/2*, para 15.

[17] AIDA, Country Report Serbia, 2018 Update, March 2019, p. 17.

[18] ECtHR, Hajatolah v. Serbia, Application No 57185/17. The case is yet to be communicated to the Government.

[19] Constitutional appeal No. 1823/17 submitted on 3 March 2017.

[20] AIDA, Country Report Serbia, 2018 Update, March 2019, p. 17-18.

[21] See more in BCHR and International Aid Network (IAN), Documenting ill-treatment and collective expulsions of refugees and migrants, January 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/2T8kEl5.

[22] The entire statistical data has been provided by UNHCR office in Serbia.

[23] Romanian Border Guard, Barcă cu migranti răsturnată în Dunăre, nouă persoane salvate de la înec, 17 April 2020, available (in Romanian) at: https://bit.ly/2yQOW3B.

[24] Taz, Einfach weitergeschoben: Abgelehnte Geflüchtete will Österreich in serbischen Abschiebezentren unterbringen – und für sie zahlen, 17 April 2020, available (in German) at: https://bit.ly/2SY8U3c; Der Standard, Grüne lehnen Abschiebung abgelehnter Flüchtlinge nach Serbien ab, 16 April 2020, available (in German) at: https://bit.ly/2T0LzOv.

[25] Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, BCHR Calls on the Serbian Authorities to Immediately Respond to Claims about the Existence of an Alleged Serbia-Austria Agreement Migrants and Asylum Seekers, 17 April, available at: https://bit.ly/2T31tIh.

[26] AIDA, Country Report Serbia, 2018 Update, March 2019, 18-20.

[27] Article 15 Foreigners Act.

[28] Article 13(2) Foreigners Act.

[29] For example, in one of BCHR’s cases which is currently pending before the Constitutional Court, a refugee from Iran, H.D., was detained in the transit zone for 30 days in November 2016: BCHR, Right to asylum in the Republic of Serbia 2016, 2017, available at: https://bit.ly/2VfZ1wP, 32.

[30] CAT, Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Serbia, 3 June 2015, CAT/C/SRB/CO/2, para 15.

[31] Constitutional Court, Constitutional appeal no 9440/16, Decision of 13 June 2019.

[32] Article 27 Constitution.

[33] ECtHR, Z.A. and others v. Russia [GC], Application nos. 61411/15, 61420/15, 61427/15, 3028/16, Judgment of 21 November 2019, EDAL, [Chamber judgment] available at: http://bit.ly/2R5G6Em.

[34] ECtHR, Nolan and K. v. Russia, Application No. 2512/04, Judgment of 12 February 2009, EDAL, available at: http://bit.ly/36NVSdx, para. 96.

[35] ECtHR, Guide on Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights – Right to liberty and Security, 2019 Update, available at: http://bit.ly/2FHSLbl, paras. 9-10.

[36] ECtHR, Amuur v. France, Application no 19776/92, Judgment of 25 June 1996, EDAL, available at: http://bit.ly/2TayPpz, para. 42.

[37] ECtHR, Arons v. Serbia, Application no 65457/16, Decision on Interim Measures of 24 November 2016.

[38] ECtHR – Gebremedhin (Gaberamadhien) v France, Application No. 25389/05, Judgment of 26 April 2007, EDAL, available at: http://bit.ly/2RwU82a, para. 66-67.

[39] Article 15 Foreigners Act.

[40] See by analogy ECtHR, M.A. v. Lithuania, Application No 59793/17, Judgment of 11 December 2018, EDAL, available at: https://bit.ly/2txDq72, para. 83-84, see also CAT, Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Serbia, 3 June 2015, CAT/C/SRB/CO/2, para 15.

[41] Information was obtained in November 2019 by the Author of this Report.

[42] BCHR, Right to Asylum in the Republic of Serbia 2016, 31-33.

[43] ECtHR, Arons v. Serbia, Application no 65457/16, Decision on Interim Measures of 24 November 2016.

[44] ECtHR, Ahmed Ismail (Shiine Culay) v. Serbia, Application No. 53622/14, Decision on Interim Measures.

[45] ECtHR, P. v. Serbia, Application No. 90877/13, Decision on Interim Measures of 23 December 2013.

[46]  ECtHR, Chahal v. United Kingdom, Application No 22414/93, Judgment of 15 November 1996, EDAL, available at: https://bit.ly/2U22cYJ, para 73.

[47] CAT, Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Serbia, 3 June 2015, CAT/C/SRB/CO/2, para 15.

[48] It is important to highlight that Mr. Melzer visited Serbia before the new Foreigners Act came into force, and when foreigner were simply boarded on the plane, without an expulsion decision rendered in a procedure where they could have used services of a lawyer and an interpreter, and without the possibility to an appeal with the suspensive effect.

[49]Special Rapporteur for Torture, Preliminary observations and recommendations of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Mr. Nils Melzer* on the official visit to Serbia and Kosovo – 13 to 24 November 2017, 27 November 2017, available at: http://bit.ly/2DBrBnT, para 5(a).

[50] Article 15(2) Foreigners Act.

[51] Article 15(3) Foreigners Act.

[52] Article 15(6) Foreigners Act.

[53] Annex 1 Regulation on the Refusal of Entry.

[54] ECtHR, Conka v. Belgium, Application No 51564/99, Judgment of 5 February 2002, EDAL, available at: https://bit.ly/2STSScH; Muminov v. Russia, Application No 42502/06, Judgment of 11 December 2008, para 10.

[55] Article 75(1) Foreigners Act.

[56] Article 75(2) Foreigners Act.

[57] Article 75(3) Foreigners Act.

[58] Article 75(5) Foreigners Act.

[59] Article 75(6) Foreigners Act.

[60] Article 83(2) Foreigners Act.

[61] ECtHR, M.A. v. Lithuania, para 83-84.

[62] See e.g. the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia and legally binding case law of the ECtHR.

[63] Information was obtained in November 2019.

[64] Ibid.

[65] BCHR’s email correspondence from 10 to 12 February 2019.

[66] CAT, Concluding observations on the third periodic report of Qatar, 4 June 2018, CAT/C/QAT/CO/3, para. 37-38 and 41-42.

[67] Registration Certificate No. 21/2019/2019 issued by BPSB on 21 February 2019.

 

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection