Border restrictions cause 'increasingly untenable situation' for migrants - UNHCR

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By Sarah Taylor  with Amnesty International, UNHCR, IOM
Border restrictions cause 'increasingly untenable situation' for migrants - UNHCR

<p>New restrictions on the movement of migrants and refugees through the Western Balkans have resulted in days of protests on Greece’s northern border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.</p> <p>Most of those demonstrating hail from Morocco, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Iran.</p> <p>“I have a question: what (is) the difference between Iranian people and the others? Why? Please help us,” pleaded Remza, a migrant from Iran.</p> <p>Some are on hunger strike. Others have sewn their mouths shut.</p> <h3>New screening processes</h3> <p>Macedonian, Serbian and Croatian authorities all changed their border-control practices on the evening of November 18. The former Yugoslav Republic and Serbia are now only allowing people of Iraqi, Syrian or Afghan origin through.</p> <p>Croatia is also carrying out stringent checks. <a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/11/refugee-crisis-balkans-border-blocks-leave-thousands-segregated-and-stranded-in-greece/">According to Amnesty International</a>, it has bussed a number of Moroccan, Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals back to Serbia.</p> <p>Those who are able to enter the country mainly travel north to Slovenia.</p> <p>From there they hope to enter Austria.</p> <h3>Domino effect</h3> <p>The screening procedures are causing a domino effect across Europe. As winter sets in, <a href="http://www.unhcr.org/print/564f38806.html">the UN Refugee Agency, International Organization for Migration and the UN Children’s Fund warn</a> the measures are creating “an increasingly untenable situation from every point of view.”</p> <p>On Friday (November 20) <span class="caps">UNHCR</span> spokesperson Adrian Edwards told the press:</p> <p>“These measures by states are creating tension at border crossings and a domino effect, leaving in total limbo some refugees stranded at different border points.”</p> <p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet tw-align-center" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">How we prep our search & rescue ship for winter crossings <a href="https://t.co/RChyIYDpwW">https://t.co/RChyIYDpwW</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/refugees?src=hash">#refugees</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/safepassage?src=hash">#safepassage</a> <a href="https://t.co/SQtGOKBH9z">pic.twitter.com/SQtGOKBH9z</a></p>— Doctors w/o Borders (@MSF_USA) <a href="https://twitter.com/MSF_USA/status/668918442607644672">November 23, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p>