Delegation trip to Greece [part 4]

Short report about the situation in Macedonia
On the 30th of december we met a person from the group “Open Border” to talk about their work and the situation of the people who are fleeing in Macedonia. The “Open Border” group is part of loose network of individuals and structures, who provide refugees in Macedonia with clothes, food and medical health care. Unfortunately we didn’t got enough time to talk about everything in detail, therefore we will publish another report with more detailed information and interviews during the next week. We want to emphasise that the report is based on the statements from one person. This person is involved in an network that is active on the Balcan route for a long time and also published the call for help from Macedonia, so we assume that we can trust these information. Therefor we want to give a first short report.

In our report about Eidomeni (deligation trip part 2) we described the situation on the Greek side of the border and announced that we try to collect information about the situation on the Macedonian side.


The named active person decribed it like this:

In Gevgelia (the Macedonian village at the Eidomeni border crossing) is also an UNHCR camp situated. Another NGO named ‘Legis’ is active there as well. The ‘legal’ refugees, meaning the people with papers from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, were provided for there. In Gevgelia is a train station from there runs a train to Tabanovce, a village just before the border crossing to Serbia. When 400-500 people are waiting for the train, the train gets ordered and than proceeds with 700-800 people to the serbian border. According to the person we talked to there is space for a maximum of 600 people. Furthermore the train is not heated. For one ride they charge 25€. Just like in Eidomeni it is not completely clear who gets this money.

Another similarity with Eidomeni is that the taxi drivers in Macedonia try to make money out of the situation. To reach this they blocked the railway tracks temporaily, so that the trains couldn’t run and the border was closed. According to other reports the taxi drivers charge 25€ from persons with papers from Syria, Afghanistan or the Iraq for the ride from Gevgelia to Tabanovce. For people who crossed the border anywhere else it costs a lot more, the taxi drivers charge a minimum of 80€. Even if they pay the price, that doesn’t mean that they arrive safely at the Serbian border. People told us that many times refugees paid for the ride and got robbed and thrown out on the streets or in the woods. Another method is to let the refugees pay the price and then hand them over to the cops. The cops lock them up or deport them straight back. Die situation in Macedonia is especially for ‘illegalized’ refugees extremly dangerous. Becuase they are not allowed to legally take the train, they have to walk along the streets or the railway tracks. There it is not unusual that they have to suffer attacks by cops, taxi drivers or mafia.

Different activists and volunteers came together in the social centre in Skopje. From there they coordinate the tasks and work. Among other things an emergency phone (0030 694 36 20 206) for refugges is under developement these days. This emergency phone can be called by refugees or their supporters if they need help. These activists also distribute clothes, food and medical help to all the people among the streets and the railway tracks. The German activists work together with locals from Macedonia. Currently they try to build a solid network to ensure a organised and constant work. Therefor support is always in need. In a call ( they explain how you can help exactly and which contact addresses they have.

Beside this report based on the activist’s statements we try to find out more about the situation in the next days and report about that on our blog. Our deligation will spread: One group goes to Skopje (capital of Macedonia) and tries to talk to activists and locals in Skopje. Please share this call and the number of the emergency phone.