Balkan Refugee and Migration Council: Security for Human Beings and Borders – Combating Smuggling of Migrants in the Western Balkan

Donor: European Union

Project duration: March 2020 – March 2023

Balkan Refugee and Migration Council and its member organizations have, through this project, focused their attention on one of the burning issues related to migrants in the region – smuggling of migrants. The aim of the project is to lead to the development of a comprehensive regional migration management program based on the needs of protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, through a multidimensional partnership of civil society organizations and state institutions.

Accordingly, 90 civil society organizations will go through a process of developing protection-sensitive practices, legal frameworks and public policies against human trafficking. In this way, civil society organizations, along with the development of cooperation with state institutions, media and educational institutions, will be able to provide support to smuggled migrants. Through advocacy activities, the project strives for closer harmonization of practices and legal frameworks of the Western Balkan countries.

The two main migration routes on the way to the European Union are through Serbia and from the Greek-Albanian border through Bosnia
and Herzegovina to Croatia and Slovenia. The project lead is Group 484, and the implementing partners are the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), the Macedonian Association of Young Lawyers (MYLA), Vaša prava Bosnia and Herzegovina (VP BiH), the Civic Alliance from Montenegro (GAMN), the Albanian Helsinki Committee (AHC) and the Civil Rights Program Kosovo (CRP/K).

Acquainting persons who were granted asylum with Serbian culture, history and Constitution

Donor: Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia

For the second time Belgrade Centre for Human Rights is conducting a program for acquainting persons who were granted asylum in Serbia with Serbian culture, history and Constitution by means of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia in accordance with the Decree on the manner of inclusion in the social, cultural and economic life of persons who were granted asylum. (more…)

Youth and human rights: Participation Mechanisms

Donor: Office for Human and Minority Rights
Duration: May 2019. – October 2019. 

In the light of the adoption of Resolution 35/14 by the Human Rights Council, which encourages Member States to report on the state of human rights of youth through the Universal Periodic Review, the main objective of the program will be to empower youth organizations and youth in the field of reporting and mechanisms for the protection of human rights of young people . The Belgrade Center will, as the coordinator of the Platform of Organizations for Cooperation with UN Human Rights Mechanisms, endeavor to transfer its experience, as well as the methodology developed for the creation of alternative reports on the state of human rights.

Project is implemented in partnership with National Youth Council of Serbia and with support of Office for Human and Minority Rights. 

Towards sustainable community-based protection for vulnerable migrants in Serbia

Donor: International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Duration: April 2019 – September 2019

The project is implemented under the program of the Swiss-Serbian Migration Partnership, which was created based on the expressed needs of the competent institutions of the Republic of Serbia. The goal of the program is to contribute to strengthening and improving of the social protection of migrants in Serbia through increasing the availability and quality of social services and support programs in local communities. Within this program, the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights will conduct a project aimed at strengthening the capacities of the centers for social work and youth workers, as well as the improvement of cross-sectoral cooperation with the active involvement of the migrants themselves. (more…)

Protecting victims and combating impunity of state officials in torture proceedings and strengthening the safeguards against refoulement

Donor: United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture
Duration: 1 January 2019 – 31 December 2021


logo JecaThis project aims to provide predominantly legal but also other (social, medical and psychological) assistance to victims of torture and members of their families. Apart from direct assistance, the activities are directed towards seeking redress for victims, combating and reducing impunity and inefficiency of state authorities in charge of criminally prosecuting state agents accused of torture, and eliminating torture. Additionally, we plan to improve practices that are severely undermining the principle of non-refoulement in asylum procedures, extradition procedures and informal procedures at the Belgrade airport Nikola Tesla.

The project encompasses:

  1. Litigation of cases of torture before the national organs;
  2. Bringing the cases before international bodies (European Court of Human Rights and monitoring mechanisms – CAT, CPT, etc.);
  3. Prevention of expulsion or securing international protection for refugees against refoulment;
  4. Regarding the impunity of state officials, for all identified cases criminal complaints will be filled;
  5. Engagement of medical doctors – forensic specialists and pathologists – to examine, document and report on the injuries, according to the Istanbul protocol for the purposes of litigation;
  6. Research, monitoring and reporting on the state of the prohibition of torture and other forms of ill-treatment in Serbia, as well as on the impunity of state officials for acts of ill-treatment;
  7. Follow-up advocacy and litigation on the implementation of successful decisions from previous cases, including prosecution of perpetrators and compensation for victims

Support to Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the Republic of Serbia

Donor: UNHCR Office in Serbia

Duration: January 2019 – December 2019

Building on the successful cooperation with the UNHCR to date, the Belgrade Center for Human Rights (BCHR) will continue with provision of free legal aid to asylum seekers and refugees in the Republic of Serbia in 2019.

Recognizing the need for additional protection of unaccompanied and separated children and the need to continue to provide support to the system in this regard, BCHR introduced a new position of a Child Protection Officer within the legal team. The Child Protection Officer, specializing in the rights of children, will provide child friendly legal counselling and adequate support to unaccompanied and separated children undergoing the asylum procedure in accordance with international standards.

Belgrade Centre for Human Rights will continue to cooperate with national authorities aiming to enhance their capacities in the field of international refugee law, protection of vulnerable groups in the asylum procedure, etc. In cooperation with the Serbian Commissariat for Refugees and Migration, the BCHR field team will continue to conduct regular visits to asylum and receptions centres in order to provide free legal counselling. BCHR will advocate for changes and improvements in the conduct of Serbian authorities regarding the access to the asylum procedure, efficiency of the asylum procedure as well as better integration system for person granted asylum.

In addition to providing legal representation before Serbian authorities, BCHR will strategically litigate cases to international institutions including European Court of Human Rights and UN Human Rights mechanisms in an effort to push for system solutions.

Further to the provision of free legal aid, the BCHR will undertake efforts to raise awareness of citizens and stakeholders on the topics of rights of refugees, international human rights standards, violations of human rights as well as advocate for adequate solutions to the systemic flaws. Analyses of decisions made by authorities in the asylum procedure and integration process will be used for research and monitoring of the respect of human rights standards, to which the Republic of Serbia has committed. BCHR will prepare legal analyses and reports on right to asylum in the Republic of Serbia that will be available at

Starting this year, the integration programme of the BCHR will be enriched with project activities focused on youth refugee population. During joint workshops, refugee youth and the local youth population will work together on creation of an animated film. The main aim of the youth component of the project and joint activities of the local and refugee youth population is to break the stereotypes within younger generations, support dialogue between cultures, encourage youth to actively participate in the society, and to develop their talents and acquire additional skills.

Regional cooperation with civil society working in the field of asylum and migration will be further improved through the Balkan Refugee and Migration Council.