NGO Aktiv presented a report on migrants and asylum seekers who move through the territory of Kosovo and its northern region of Mitrovica, on the way to the European Union in the period from 2015 to 2020. The event was held in the Civic Energy Center in North Mitrovica on Thursday, April 28.

The “Migratory Situation in the Western Balkans/Kosovo/Mitrovica Region” publication analyzes the readiness of Kosovo’s institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations to provide assistance and support to migrants.

“Around 700.000 individuals from the Middle East and North Africa regions used the so-called Balkan route into central Europe”, the report says noting that “poor economic conditions, natural disasters or armed conflicts, complex political circumstances have been the underlying cause for the transitory nature of the movement of the migrant population through Kosovo and into the EU”.

For international migrants on the Western Balkans route, Kosovo is used mainly as a transit area to Europe. Data show that in 2020 there were 1409 asylum seekers. “Out of 1409, 887 persons entered the territory of Kosovo illegally, 20 of them entered legally, while it has not yet been determined how 502 persons entered,” the report says.

This study explains how different institutions and agencies in Kosovo participated in the process of accommodating migrants in reception centers, providing medical and legal assistance, all the way to the identification process.

“Kosovo has three asylum centers and has begun to address this issue recently because, until 2009, it mainly dealt with its returnees who left the country before and during the 1999 war,” the report points.

The study found that most asylum seekers do not intend to stay in reception centers in Kosovo for too long. According to information obtained during the research, a significant number of migrants applied for asylum only to extend their legal stay, usually about 3-4 weeks. After that period, they went in an unknown direction.

According to the data, most migrants travel to the municipality of Vučitrn/Vushtrri, and from there take a taxi or walk to the city of Mitrovica, and then go on to the northern municipalities that lean on the border/administrative line with Serbia.

The smuggling of migrants in Kosovo poses a significant threat to overall security, the report said. “Criminal networks exploit the vulnerabilities of migrants and their intention to get to the EU as fast as possible,” it is stated.

The report mentions a number of recommendations for all actors, relevant local and central institutions, non-governmental sector, in order to be better organized while managing the migration crisis.

The report “Migratory situation in the Western Balkans/Kosovo/Mitrovica region” is available at the link HERE.

This publication was prepared with the support of the European Union within the regional project „Security for Human Beings and Borders – Combating Smuggling of Migrants in the Western Balkans “.

NGO AKTIV Mitrovica

NGO AKTIV Priština