The International Day of Refugees in Skopje celebrated with numerous activities

Skopje (AA)- The International Day of Refugees on June 20th, was celebrated by the Open Society-Skopje, Legis, The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights- Macedonia and the Youth Educational Forum in the Park of Francophone, by numerous activities to pay respect to, as they say, this important day for everyone around the world who is a refugee, asylum-seeker, or internally displaced people.

The event was opened by Mersiha Smailovik from the NGO Legis, who talked about the importance of raising awareness about the refugees and their hardships.

Smailovik pointed that the world is facing one of the biggest refugee and humanitarian crises, saying that all the social factors that have helped the refugees in any way, should indeed continue until the moment where in this country there is not a single refugee left.

Bakr: from a refugee to a volunteer

The 16-year old Bakr Kalfa from Hama, Syria, shared his life story, the destiny of a refugee and all the challenges, hardships and temptation it brings.

Speaking about his life before the war in Syria, Bakr said that he was going to school, was living with his family and everything was normal, there was no reason whatsoever to flee the country, but after the war happened and it became more and more serious, the situation changed and he was forced to leave.

He remembered when his father during Ramadan in Syria decided for them to leave to Europe due to the war in Syria.

“Actually, when my father decided for u to leave, it was the month of Ramadan. My brother and I were in the mosque and bombs were falling down, so my father decided that we should go to my older brother that was already in Germany”.

He said that from Syria they went to Turkey, and afterward by boat to Greece, which was so hard that they feared for their lives.

“There was only one boat with 50 people in it, we were all scared, everybody was crying and it was truly dangerous”, said Bakr.

After they arrived to Greece, the journey was OK until they reached Serbia. People were helping them and they had no particular problems until they reached Slovenia.

“When I got to Slovenia, they prevented me from entering, they brought me back to Croatia and then back to Serbia. After we reached Serbia, police arrested my brother, and the next day they brought me back to Macedonia and took my brother to Hungary, and then to Germany”- said Bakr, also explaining that he had to sign a document he didn’t know about, and the UNHCR told him the document is his consent to never pass the Slovenian border.

“Police was almost during the whole trip nice to us, but I don’t know why they brought us back, they requested some documents and told me to go back, but I can’t, the situation is very bad, and I could be killed”.

After he was brought back to Macedonia, he spent two months in TC “Tabanovce”, and he succeeded in contacting a lawyer that told him that his only solution is to seek asylum in Macedonia because he is a minor.

“Then I spent three months in the safe house and I got some papers, and then they brought me to Vizbegovo saying that’s the best for me.” After all the hardships, Bakr met the humanitarian activists from Legis that work with the refugee crises and joined them in their humanitarian mission.

“Now I volunteer in Legis and help people because I think that’s the best for me”, said Bakr, explaining that now that he has met some people and that he has some responsibilities, he doesn’t miss his family so much, because he made friends with whom he share all his saddest moment, far away from his family.

After he told his story, Bakr expressed his wish to reunite with his family one day.

After that, for the motive of the International Dy of Refugees, there was a debate on the topic “The right for asylum in Macedonia: Does the accessibility of the right of seeking asylum is in fact an illegal exchange and deportation between the states alongside the Balkan Route?” The participants were Trpe Stojanovski, an expert, Snezana Teodosievska Jordanoska, public defender of Macedonia, Vosilav Stojanovski, legal advisor at the Helsinki Committee of Human Rights of Macedonia, and Zoran Drangovski, legal advisor for asylum and migration. 

Photo by: Vancho Dzambaski

Source: A.A.