Because right now hundreds of asylum seekers are being deprived of accommodation, food and safety. They are forced to live in the woods outside Bogovadja asylum centre, which is full to capacity. The relevant authorities are not addressing the situation and snow will soon fall!
We, the undersigned asylum seekers in the
Republic of Serbia together with the citizens of the Republic of Serbia and
other countries, request the fulfillment of the fundamental rights of asylum
seekers, defined by the law (the Law on Asylum of the Republic of Serbia,
article 21) and demand the following of the responsible institutions and organs
(the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration, UNHCR and Serbian Government):
1. a) Urgent provision of accommodation and food for
the asylum seekers, who have been
living for several months outside the Asylum center, in the nearby forests,
without necessary means, exposed to great cold, malnutrition, diseases,
physical and psychological torture.
The problem of
accommodation could be solved permanently by opening a new asylum center but
also by providing a temporary accommodation of the asylum seekers until the
more permanent solution becomes available.
Assurance that all the people will be safe and protected until the previous
request is fulfilled (above all, that they would be protected from illegal
deportations to the countries from which they entered Serbia, since the asylum
seekers have testified that in 2012 even those who had been holding valid
asylum applications issued by the police, had been deported).
Replacement of the manager of the center, director Stojan Sjekloća,
because of the lack of transparency in his managing the center, justified
suspicion of corruption, psychological unstability and lack of expertise and
The testimonies about the work of Stojan
Sjekloća, gathered during the last year and a half, can be found below.
b) Ensuring that the new center manager is an
honest, professional and responsible person, with foreign language skills and
an insight into the problems of refugees (in their home countries, in the
countries of transit and while on the territory of the Republic of Serbia).
Besides these qualities, it is of great importance that the new manager also
has a sense for working with people, a sense of understanding and compassion.
TESTIMONIES OF ASYLUM SEEKERS
AND ACTIVISTS ABOUT THE WORK OF THE
WARDEN OF THE ASYLUM CENTER IN BOGOVAĐA
- STOJAN SJEKLOĆA, COLLECTED OVER THE
PAST YEAR AND A HALF
In September 2012, it
was reported that the management of Center for asylum seekers in Bogovađa was asking
for money from the immigrants so they could be situated at the facilities.
witnessed by many asylum seekers, along with former employees of the Center,
and reported to the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration. The case was publicized by media, (National
radio and television of Serbia, E-novine, Danas, Kurir, Novosti, S Media), but
eventually remained unsolved, and the situation at the Center didn’t change.
asylum seekers, which are not situated at the Center, because of the
insufficient capacities, are sleeping in the surrounding forest. In November
2013, the Warden of the center, Stojan Sjekloća, denied them meals provided by
the Red Cross for two days, in order to “discipline “ them for “not standing in
the line for food appropriately”.
example of denying the asylum seekers humanitarian aid was withholding the
donations (mostly clothes) inside the Center’s storage. Last winter, the organization
“Pesčanik” along with a group of activists organized a humanitarian action and
managed to acquire a significant amount of winter clothes. Upon delivering this
shipment to the Center, the Warden ordered the clothes to be locked in the
Center’s storage. We found out from the Center’s inhabitants that they or the
registered asylum seekers in the surrounding woods never received these
clearly show the restricted access to humanitarian help. This imposes the
question: by what law, regulation, or by whose authorization did the Warden
Stojan Sjekloća choose to act in such a manner, especially when it comes to
donations from the citizens?
the asylum seekers, there are many cases of inappropriate behavior towards the
inhabitants of the Center. This happens along with a number of groundless
expelling from the Center. This was also reported by the media on several
occasions. According to the testimonies of several inhabitants, Stojan Sjekloća
on numerous occasions has displayed racist behavior, insulted and humiliated
the people in the asylum seeking process, and consumed alcohol in the
the irregularities in the Center’s management mentioned above, it is necessary
to reconsider the position of the warden Stojan Sjekloća: Considering his
apparent incompetence, insensibility to the problems the asylum seekers, and
moreover, the fact that he doesn’t speak a single foreign language, which makes
any immediate communication with the asylum seekers impossible.
these problems, the authoritarian attitude and the lack of transparency in
management indicate the necessity of reacting against and replacing the Centers
management, and its warden Stojan Sjekloća.