The possibility of placing asylum seekers under detention in Serbia is prescribed by the Asylum Act. In 2019 the Asylum Office rarely resorted to such measures, and only issued 4 decisions to place asylum seekers in detention in order to ensure their presence in the asylum procedure. On the other hand, persons who are likely in need of international protection might be deprived of liberty in the Detention Centre for Foreigners in Padinska Skela on other grounds which are set in the Foreigners Act, mainly for the purpose of forcible removal. However, the Ministry of Interior has failed to deliver data on the number and the nationality of persons detained on this ground.
Each year, thousands of persons who are likely in need of international protection are detained in Serbia on various grounds. This may occur as a result of a conviction for illegal entry or stay in Serbia without having invoked the benefits of Article 8 of the Asylum Act, or being held in the airport transit zone in a completely arbitrary manner (see Access to the Territory).
The only official institution established for the purpose of detaining foreigners staying unlawfully is the Shelter for Foreigners, located in Belgrade, Padinska Skela, with a capacity of up to 80 detainees. In 2019, the reconstruction and expansion of the Shelter’s capacity were continued and intensified. The bedrooms, the kitchen, the dining room, and Detention Centre management offices were renovated.
Good cooperation between BCHR and the Shelter for Foreigners continued in 2019. The BCHR’s lawyers had full access to all foreigners detained there, and universal access to the asylum procedure was ensured for those interested in seeking asylum. In 2019, a total of 8 foreigners expressed an intention to seek asylum in the Detention Centre. No problems regarding an access to asylum procedure have been reported.