[Serbia] A day in the life of a child refugee in Belgrade

13 Jun 2017

Aljazeera recently wrote a piece about the precarious life of an 11 year old Afghan refugee who has been stuck in Serbia.

Abuzar was interviewed by Aljazeera in February 2017 and is one of 300,000 child migrants worldwide who have been attempting to obtain asylum protection over the past two years, according to UNICEF figures. In 2016, over 100,000 unaccompanied minors traveled on the Balkan route.

Approximately 1,500 males have situated themselves behind the Belgrade railway station, while repeatedly attempting to seek haven in Northern Europe, through the assistance of illicit activities. The glorified railway station neighbors formerly used livestock storage warehouses, which now shelters Afghan asylum seekers. 

Upon recent evictions of inhabitants occupying these warehouses, 400 refugee minors have gone missing, however the government claims these children have been transferred to underage reception centers.

Abuzar believes such camps are detention centers in actuality, while citing his own experiences in a Bulgarian centre, where he claims border authorities had physically assaulted him and had stole his possessions, including his only pair of warm trousers.

"The Game" is a secret code word utilized by smugglers and refugees in discrete reference to irregular border crossing between Balkan states. According to the article, Abuzar had played "the game" last March, however he hasn't been seen nor heard from since. 

Oxfam's associate organization, the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights has attempted to inquire about his whereabouts, however no information regarding Abuzar's wellbeing has been discovered. 

Abuzar had traveled by foot from his native Baghlan province in Afghanistan, onward toward Pakistan's Balochistan border, onto Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Serbia. The 11 year old aspired to seek refuge in Sweden and to one day bring his family with him. 

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