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Statement on the risk of a new humanitarian disaster on another Balkan border - Tabanovce

Statement by Tomáš Boček, Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees
Strasbourg 11 March 2016
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Statement on the risk of a new humanitarian disaster on another Balkan border - Tabanovce

Today, as part of my first fact-finding mission, after meeting the Minister of the Interior of "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", Oliver Spasovski, I visited the Tabanovce camp at the border with Serbia.

Next to the camp, still on the territory of the "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", almost 400 persons (more than half children) have been camping for several days now, just in front of the Serbian border. Their extreme living conditions are unacceptable and further aggravated by the adverse weather conditions (for example make-shift tents in a muddy field, no running water).
 


It is clear that, if the situation does not change dramatically, there will soon be a humanitarian disaster. To prevent this from happening, the authorities of "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" should urgently pursue their efforts to alleviate the suffering of this group of persons, who up to now cannot be convinced to abandon their plan to move on. It goes without saying that the authorities of Serbia and "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" should find an acceptable longer-term solution to these persons' plight.
 


Yesterday I went to Idomeni, Greece on the border with "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" and I am deeply concerned about the catastrophic situation of more than 13 000 people gathered there, of whom more than 8000 are women and children.

I urge member States to fulfill their legal, political and moral engagements to ensure respect for the human rights guaranteed under the European Convention. The Council of Europe stands ready to provide appropriate assistance to all of them in dealing with the human rights implications of the migration flows they have to manage.
 

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