It is time for the integration of migrants into Serbian society

It is time for the integration of migrants into Serbian society

Institutions in Serbia can no longer treat migrants from Middle East as if they are passing through our territory, but need to take responsibility for their integration into Serbian society.

Belgrade, December 18, 2017, 23:25

That is the message of today’s conference of the Association for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings “Atina” and Konrad Adenauer Foundation in the Media Center.

On the occasion of the International Migrants Day, Norbert Beckmann, director of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Serbia, stated that the work of civil society organizations with refugees in Serbia has changed, as migrants are now staying for longer periods of time in the country, and our administration must adapt and respond to their needs.

- Migrants are staying in Serbia for longer periods of time, but their future is uncertain, which is why more qualified officials and administrators are needed here to make sure their rights are respected. At the moment, municipalities, cities, and civil society organizations must deal with providing assistance to migrants and finding solutions on how to politically and administratively treat them, said Beckmann.

Jelena Hrnjak from the Association “Atina” concluded that integration is the key word in further treatment of Serbia toward migrants, stressing that this issue must be opened regardless of the refugees’ current status, or the length of their stay in our country.

- A year ago, we spoke about the transit of migrants through our country, now it is time to talk about their integration, to enable conditions for them to be included into our society and exercise their rights. Integration must stand in contrast to racism, xenophobia, and violence which is often expressed against them, emphasized Hrnjak.

Milan Aleksic, from the Association “Atina”, stated that the integration is possible to achieve through the existing legal framework, and added that our laws are good, but insufficiently utilized, which has been confirmed by the research this organization conducted.

- The state must be aware that the refugee crisis is not over, it simply changed its form. Now we have to begin working on the education of migrants, enable them to learn the language, and incude them into the labor market - said Aleksic.

The original text can be found here: