Situation of people on the move in Serbia

Last update : June 2023
Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

Thematic sections (on asylum, deportation, etc.) of this country page may be outdated and will be updated soon!

Serbia is one of the main transit countries on the so-called Balkan Route. From Greece, people cross through North Macedonia and arrive around the city of Preševo. Especially in the past months, most people arrive directly via Bulgaria. From Serbia, there are many routes. Few people try to go to Romania, others try to go to Croatia via Šid or to Bosnia and from there to Croatia.

Since November 2023, less people are trying to cross into Hungary via northern Serbia. There is a high fence full of sharp metal blades and it is not possible to pass it independently. Hungarian police is known to be very violent, abusing people they find after the border before returning them to Serbia. They also steal money, phones, etc. We have heard many cases where people who were injured were brought to hospital, received treatment but were pushed back to Serbia, sometimes in critical medical condition.

WARNING: the river between Serbia and Bosnia is very dangerous, especially in winter and when it’s raining. There are pushbacks by the Bosnian police back to Serbia also through the water, this can be very dangerous and people have died.

There are several independent organizations that help with food, clothes and showers but also information. You can find their contacts here. Across Serbia there are many camps, the conditions are known to be bad. It is crowded, unhygienic and there is lack of medical help. If you’re registered in the camp you get a camp ID, this is only for the camp administration, it is not an official document and does not mean that you’re in the asylum procedure. 

People also stay outside of camps, often in tents or ruins. Many of these places are not for free. During some months, police has come frequently to destroy these places and bring people to the official camps. It happens often that police brings people back to camps in the south of the country, for example to Preševo, far away from the border.