OnDuring the summer, I travelled along the border of Hungary with the Serbian International Rescue Committee and the Serbian Novi Sad Humanitarian Centre team to reach out mostly to refugees in hiding along the borders. Sadly, they are many refugees that too afraid of being sent back or having to stay in camps for undetermined time, they rather risk their lives attempting to cross the borders towards places they assume to be safer. Many of the accounts I was given were of violence from the very official people meant to protect them.
This is an account that a refugee from Pakistan has given me of his experience of border crossing. He was beaten by the Hungarian border police and then pushed back. I met him in the Adaševci camp in Serbia where he chronicled his experience. (his name is undisclosed)
Athens 2015: I met Sila at the Babel centre in Athens, where he was receiving mental health treatment from the traumatic experience of being left for dead by a group of supporters of the Golden Dawn, a far-right party. “I heard people behind me shouting “Malaka” [wanker] and immediately after someone started to slapping me. I asked ‘Why?’ but they just carried on attacking me, throwing me back and forth like a football ball. Then I saw a knife been taken out and I was knifed. I collapsed. I was left for dead on the pavement before the police was called six hours later. The police station was 2 minutes away.’Sila, asylum seeker from GuineaOn
I saw S. in Syntagma square in Athens. Like most refugees and migrants he gravitated to the square to share knowledge and experiences. I went up to him, introduced myself and the work I was doing. For Saju the life in the capital was incredibly hard due to lack of work, papers, the violence from the police and the long spells in prisons.