Today, on 20 June, the Protector of Citizens, Mr. Zoran Pašalić, stated that Serbia understood best the fears and needs of refugees who, in recent years, have been finding asylum in the country since it has accepted nearly half a million of its compatriots, as well as members of other nationalities who had to flee their homes in recent decades.

“Serbia is a country which in the region, in Europe and beyond, has most experience with refugees since more than 500,000 Serbs, as well as members of other nationalities who had to flee Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo and Metohija have found refuge in Serbia over the last 30 years. This resulted in our solidarity with refugees coming here from North Africa and Middle East” Mr. Pašalić said.

Apart from sporadic incidents, all refugees who came to Serbia from the East and are currently staying in it were well received because our citizens are experienced and understanding of all the hardships experienced by people who had to leave everything they have and go into the unknown, Pašalić stated.

The Protector of Citizens highlighted that the position of the refugees from the East is complex and difficult as they do not have personal IDs, they have no money, do not know the language or regulations and that women and unaccompanied children are at particular risk, but that in the Republic of Serbia they are provided with all the necessary conditions for temporary life with full respect for international standards and a high level of understanding and solidarity.

At the moment, there are more than 5,000 migrants in Serbia, most of whom are housed in reception and asylum centers, and all of them are provided with health care, and special curricula have been prepared for school children, Pašalić emphasized.

In 2000, the United Nations General Assembly designated the African Refugee Day - June 20, World Refugee Day, commemorating those who were forced to flee their homes for war, fear of persecution, violence or conflict, but also as a support to those who still face similar problems today.