Jasmin Redzepi is the head of the humanitarian association “Legis” which has been involved in the recent days in helping refugees coming in the region bordering Greece and who travel to Serbia, from Eastern Europe with humanitarian aids.
Interviewed by Naser Pajaziti
IBNA: How do you consider the large numbers of refugees coming to the country?
Redzepi: The situation is alarming and we’re seeing an increase of their numbers, especially Syrians who are coming to our country from Greece. The numbers of refugees are going up because fights in Syria are intensifying. Many refugees have told us that it takes them more than a week to travel from Damascus to our country. The most serious situation was last week, when the government ordered that a limited number of emigrants would enter the country. This situation caused chaos and a difficult situation. What I’m asking is for the European Union to help. We demand camps to be set up for refugees in border areas, because what happened last week in the Greek-Macedonian border was a humanitarian catastrophe, therefore Europe must react. There must be concrete actions and aid.
IBNA: You have warned large numbers of refugees, after the normalization of the situation.
Redzepi: A large number of refugees is expected to arrive in the country at the end of Summer, once tourists leave Turkey. We are preparing for this situation, however, without the help of the government and EU, the humanitarian crisis will persist. For now, we have over two thousand refugees a day that enter the country. But, this number is supposed to be higher given that there are refugees who do not seek aid.
IBNA: Do you think that the government is successfully managing the refugee crisis?
Redzepi: Up until the moment when the border was closed, there were no problems. Refugees entered the country and were issued with a 72 hours stay permit, to then continue their journey to Serbia. The closing of the border gave a bad image to our country. They were difficult moments that were spread throughout world media.
I’m very happy that the border was opened again, but what we’re asking is the setting up of a refugee camp or a temporary center for refugees. This way, there will be a better organization for refugees, who then continue their journey to other countries. We demand more from the government. We need aids and food, because we are not able to cope with these large numbers.
IBNA: What do you make of many claims according to which refugees from Middle East can cause a security crisis in the Balkan?
Redzepi: From what we can see on the ground, these are people and families that leave the war and they are the ones who have caused the conflict.
So far, none of the 100 thousand refugees who have gone through Macedonia, have not caused any incidents. On the contrary, they have been attacked, robbed and beaten. As far as the debates that there are terrorists among them, are concerned, this is a lie, because terrorists from Europe go to Arab countries to develop their network and mission.