Munir, a 17-year-old migrant from Afghanistan, speaks about his journey, which has thus far taken him as far as Serbia, where he has run out of money and is living in a tent in a Belgrade park. It was in a bus station where Munir learns to shave for the first time. He hopes to reach Germany.
On 6th October 2015 in Serbia, Munir Yousufi, 16, an unaccompanied minor traveling alone from Afghanistan, prays in a tent in a park by the bus station in downtown Belgrade. Serbia is a transit country for many refugees and migrants on the move in Europe, and the park by the central bus station has become a resting spot for those with tents.
Munir grew up in Kunduz, and his family left that city when the Taliban destroyed their house, with them in it, during the fighting. In the attack, Muneer lost partial use of the left side of his body, including his eye, arm and leg. “We escaped to Mazar-a-Sherif, because the situation in Kunduz was too dangerous. But all of Afghanistan is too dangerous, so my family collected all of their money and sent me here for security, and to get new citizenship.” He said. Munir was traveling with other people from Mazar, but ten days ago, he ran out of money and has been stuck in Belgrade since, living out of a tent in the park. His traveling companions continued to Germany, and “I am relying on other Afghans to give me a little bit of money until I can get enough to get to Germany.”
In September 2015, growing numbers of refugees and migrants seeking safety in Europe continue to enter or pass through Serbia. Many of them are fleeing violence, conflict and insecurity in their countries of origin. By 25 September, 141,259 people had expressed their intent to seek asylum in the country. They are among the 487,497 refugees and migrants who have arrived in Europe by sea in 2015. About one in every four asylum seekers in Europe so far this year has been a child. More than 130,000 children sought asylum between January and July – an average of over 18,000 children every month.
A significant number of children are travelling unaccompanied or have become separated from their families on the move. As if their current plight were not distressing enough, the vast majority of children seeking refuge in Europe are escaping to enter or pass through Serbia. Many of them are fleeing violence, conflict and insecurity in their countries of origin.
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Photos: © UNICEF/2015/Gilbertson VII
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