Macedonia: Calm at the border but uncertain fate for refugees and asylum-seekers’ onward journey

Spokesperson on the ground available for interview

Almost all the people stuck at the Greek border in the last three days, including many Syrian and Afghan refugees and asylum-seekers, have safely crossed into Macedonia bringing a temporary calm to the tense situation there in recent days, said Amnesty International.

The situation in Gevgelija, a Macedonian town near the border is currently quiet. Between 80 and 100 refugees and asylum-seekers were present at the train station there this afternoon. Refugees and asylum-seekers are reportedly being slowly allowed to board trains heading to the northern border with Serbia. Some were boarding buses which they have to pay for. Police are present in the area but the situation is calm.

“It may seem as if the latest crisis has been averted since the situation on the border appears quiet now, but hundreds of people, including many families, pregnant women and small children, who have crossed into Macedonia now face an uncertain fate. Some are sick and in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, it’s unclear whether all of them will get the help and care they need,” said Giorgos Kosmopoulous, Director of Amnesty International Greece, who is on Macedonia’s southern border with Greece.

“For many people this border crossing is just one step along a very long and difficult journey to another destination within Europe – the crisis may have moved on but it’s far from over. There are several more boats carrying refugees and asylum seekers reported to have arrived on the Greek islands. The key question now is: how will the Macedonian authorities respond to new arrivals of refugees and asylum-seekers who attempt the same border crossings in the coming days?”

To arrange an interview with Amnesty International’s representative on the ground please contact the press office on +44 (0) 777 847 2126 or + 44 (0) 20 7413 5566 or email [email protected]