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NGO accuses Serbian police of violence against migrants

A non-governmental organization in North Macedonia has accused Serbian police of violence against migrants. Last weekend, more than 70 migrants showed up in a village on the border with Serbia, many of them wearing only underwear, the head of the refugee aid organization Legis said today, according to the AFP news agency.

The migrants reported to the organization's staff that they had been beaten and humiliated by the Serbian police. The NGO published a video online that residents of the village of Lojane in northern North Macedonia had filmed. Several men can be seen, most of whom are walking along a road between the Serbian border and the village, in temperatures of around three degrees Celsius at night, most of them in just their underwear.

Accusation of EU states

The head of the refugee organization said the migrants came from different countries and were on the Balkan route on their way to Western Europe. “These people don’t want to stay here. Their destination was not Serbia or North Macedonia. They are not committing a crime,” she added.

The head of Legis complains about anti-migrant policies that are “silently approved” by Europe. According to the NGO, some of the migrants wanted to try again to cross the border into Serbia. According to the EU's border protection agency, Frontex, around 100,000 people attempted to reach Western Europe via the Balkan route between January and October 2023.