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The Balkan buffer-zone

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Map posted the 2015/12/09

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For several years, the migratory routes in the Balkans have been reactivated by migrants coming from the Middle-East, Asia and Africa. At the same time, several governmental schemes to remove migrants to their countries of origin or to transit countries are in place. The readmission agreements permit for instance the return of migrants to the states which they have crossed. Moreover, all the EU member states adopted the “Dublin III” regulation which contains mechanisms for returning migrants to the first country where an application for asylum has been made. To circumvent the growing difficulties to reach Europe legally, many migrants embark on a journey through the Balkans.

We decided to map here the route of a young Moroccan man. A native of Casablanca, he first travels to Istanbul by plane, the main point of departure of the “Balkan routes”. At that time he could not have imagined that this journey was to become a four-year migratory wandering. In this particular example, the fingerprints of the young man are registered in the Eurodac system in Zagreb. Once he arrives in Innsbruck, Austria, he is placed in a detention centre to be returned to Croatia as foreseen by the “Dublin III” regulation.

His case is far from being an isolated example. Today, the Balkans serve as an important transit zone but also as a buffer-zone to which many migrant are sent back to against their will.

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Date(s) of publication: 2015
Author(s): Morgane Dujmovic
Credits: Migreurop