(Mirror Daily, United States) – There’s a new migration route for asylum seekers crossing Europe, but it has turned into a treacherous situation on Monday as thousands of refugees were stranded in between Croatia and Slovenia due to their respective governments blaming each other for making a bad situation worse.
When Croatia sent several buses and two trains carrying people fleeing poverty and war to Slovenia’s door, officials claimed the Croats were ignoring previous agreements to limit such transports to 2,500 refugees a day.
On their side of the border, Croatian officials insisted “no such binding deal could be enforced because they lacked legal powers to confine travelers to Croat emergency shelters.” These disputes led to an alarming situation that took place shortly after midnight on Sunday at the neighboring border.
After the first train – transferring roughly 1,800 refugees – stopped near Slovenia, passangers found they couldn’t move in either direction as their way was blocked by deployments of Croat and Slovene police. Both sides were arguing that migrants should be seeking refuge in the opposite direction.
As a result, the border became an effective no-man’s land, a situation that forced the people to spend the night under the open sky, in the driving rain and among the cries of children. At another crossing point, border officials were getting ready to stop a second train from crossing, with the estimated 1,900 aboard facing a similar fate.
Vesna Gyorkos Znidar, Interior Minister of Slovenia, called the situation “completely unacceptable,” accusing Croatia of ignoring Slovenian appeals. Moreover, he said Croat officials didn’t conduct proactive efforts to persuade the refugees into staying at Croatian shelters, but instead wanted to dump “an unlimited number of immigrants” on their neighbors.
On the other hand, Croatia complained about the unfair burden of flowing migrants coming from Serbia. More than 4,000 people were in the same miserable condition on Monday, waiting at the Serbo-Croat border. According to Melita Sunjic, on-site spokeswoman for UNHCR, there are more than 10,000 migrants in Serbia, “more than double the daily average in the past month.”
Police have built steel gates in order to stop the flow of people attempting to cross at the most popular crossings. Some of the most desperate families could be seen handing their children to the police, hoping they will be taken out of the cold and rain.
Others, tired of the never-ending hours of waiting in the rain, tried to cross the borders through orchards and cornfields, outside the visual range of police officers. But the humanitarian crisis only got worse on Slovenia’s southern border ever since Hungary closed its border with Croatia.
Image Source: Aljazeera