Serbia, Migrants, Violence
Mental Health

Games of Violence

Unaccompanied children and young people repeatedly abused by EU member state border authorities

Today, more than one year after the so-called closure of the Balkan Road and the EU-Turkey Deal, Serbia remains one of the main hubs for people wishing to enter the European Union from the east and travel onwards to western and northern Europe.

Whilst providing primary and mental health care to refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, Doctors Without Borders medical teams based in Belgrade continue to treat the injuries, both psychological and physical, of those crossing towards the Schengen Zone. Whether they are living in unsafe and precarious conditions at Serbia’s borders with Hungary and Croatia, or recently arrived from Bulgaria, the injured and distressed are mostly young men and boys aged between 15 and 25 years of age.

Over and over again, they are violently pushed  back from EU borders nursing wounds allegedly perpetrated by EU member state border forces in an endless cycle of border crossings they have dubbed “The Game”. Regardless of their reasons for being in Serbia in the first place, they are left extremely vulnerable while waiting in camps, detention centres and informal settlements where they are repeatedly brutalised and neglected and ultimately made invisible by migration policies that push them onto more and more dangerous routes. 

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