Terrible living conditions in camps mean refugees want a better life west (interview)

Peter Devínsky on why migration routes now go through Slovakia.

Czech police officer controls a truck at the border with Slovakia in Stary Hrozenkov, Czech Republic.Czech police officer controls a truck at the border with Slovakia in Stary Hrozenkov, Czech Republic. (Source: SITA)

The increase in illegal migration can be felt in Slovak detention centres, says PETER DEVÍNSKY of the Slovak Humanitarian Council.

"In the Medveďov centre, we saw 1,068 people by the end of August 2022. In previous years, there were around 350 to 380 people there for the whole year," he tells the Sme daily.

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Slovakia has only 300 vacancies in centres for illegal migrants.

By the end of August 2022, the Frontex agency recorded 190,000 illegal entries into the European Union, which is more than 75 percent from a year ago. What has changed?

The situation in countries such as Syria or Afghanistan is not improving, and people who are refugees primarily in Turkey and Lebanon cannot return home. They have been stuck there with their families for a long time. Moving to Europe to find a way out of their hopeless situation is understandable. The people we work with here in Slovakia tell us that many of them come from Turkey, where there are millions of refugees.

How do they describe the conditions in which they lived?

As disastrous. No social services, electricity, water, and the hopelessness from staying in such a place for a long time is terrible. They live either in tents or container cities.

Related article Austria to start Slovak border checks as illegal immigration rises Read more 

During the refugee crisis in 2015, the routes did not go through Slovakia and the Czech Republic to such an extent. What is different now?

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