19 6 2023. On the eve of 20 June – World Refugee Day – the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights alerts
to the millions of refugees and internally displaced people across the world and concerning
trends indicating that these numbers will unfortunately continue growing. UNHCR data
show that 110 million people in the world have fled their homes due to conflict,
persecution, discrimination, violence and the impact of climate change affecting an
increasing number of countries. The number of people fleeing their homes and internally
displaced people has been growing every year and has never been this high – it increased
by 19 million in 2022 alone. The armed conflicts that recently broke out in Ukraine and the
Sudan substantially contributed to these devastating statistics. However, other areas in the
world ravaged by where humanitarian crises for years, such as Afghanistan, Syria,
Myanmar, Ethiopia, et al, should not be forgotten either. Add to that the numerous
accidents occurring along migrant routes, especially the Mediterranean, where desperate
people on the move are at the mercy of groups of smugglers and are traversing dangerous
routes, their treks often ending in tragedy.
Frontex data rank the Balkan Route as the second most active migrant route: 22,500
people have already passed through the Balkans on their way to EU Member States since
the beginning of the year. Around 2,200 refugees, migrants and asylum centres are living in
Serbian asylum and reception centres at the moment, nearly half as many as in the same
period last year. On the other hand, a much larger number of new arrivals, who continue
their journey without registering or settling down in the reception centres in Serbia, have
been noticed in the field, indicating that a developed human smuggling network exists. The
incidents, like the one near Subotica this weekend, demonstrate that the relevant state
authorities should continuously address the problem and prevent the accompanying risks
and protect the victims.
In 2023, the Republic of Serbia extended the validity of temporary protection granted to
persons forcibly displaced from Ukraine. According to the Serbian Interior Ministry’s most
recent data, such protection has been extended to 1,288 people who have fled Ukraine. On
the other hand, from 2008, when the asylum system was established, to end May 2023,
Serbian authorities have granted refuge or subsidiary protection to only 244 people, six of
them in 2023.
As UNHCR’s executive partner, the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights has for 12 years now
been extending legal aid to refugees and asylum seekers and assistance and protection
throughout the process, from helping them access Serbian territory and legally
representing them before domestic and internal authorities, to facilitating their access to

their economic, social and cultural rights, such as their rights to education, healthcare and
work. We will continue advocating the improvement of the status and protection of all
individuals in need of international protection and their full integration in our community
and contribution to society #SviZaJedno.