The AOM visited Macedonia on 13 and 14 March to assess the improvement of the legal protection system for asylum. Members of the delegation visited the Tabanovce Migrants Transit Center on the northern border with Serbia and the Vizbegovo Asylum Seekers Center on the outskirts of Skopje.
The aim of the visit of the AOM was to identify the developments and conditions in the transit centers of migrants and asylum seekers concerning the right of asylum and the expulsion of migrants and persons in need of asylum. protection. Particular attention was given to access to asylum, non-refoulement and the protection of vulnerable groups: women, unaccompanied children and elderly persons.
This mission followed on from February 2016 when the AOM visited the center of Tabanovce at the height of the migratory crisis, a few days before the closure of the Balkan route.
The AOM has made recommendations to the Macedonian authorities, non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies:
- Improve the dissemination of information to asylum seekers and migrants, and also ensure that vulnerable groups have access to information on protection and assistance;
- Take measures to improve the identification of vulnerable people and refer them to multidisciplinary mobile teams;
- Strengthen regional cooperation among Governments, relevant authorities, Ombudsmen institutions and non-governmental organizations to improve information exchange;
- Meetings of police officers at regional level should not only focus on border security but also on how to protect vulnerable groups of people in need of international protection such as women, children and victims of trafficking;
- Develop more recreational activities for asylum seekers and migrants in transit