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Balkan states begin rejecting economic migrants

Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 01:31

Some 1,500 migrants are stranded at the Greece-Macedonia border as Balkan countries reject those not fleeing conflict. Sean Carberry reports.

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STORY: War refugees yes, economic migrants, no. That's the new policy in place in some Balkan countries. Officials in Macedonia and Serbia said they acted after Slovenia informed them it would no longer grant access to those deemed to be "economic migrants" from Africa or Asia. Only those fleeing conflict in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan will be allowed in. That's leaving hundreds stranded in this no-man's land between Greece and Macedonia. UNHCR field coordinator Aleksandra Kraus said that things are calm for the moment as they sort out how to respond to the new policy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNHCR FIELD COORDINATOR AT VINOJUG MIGRANT CENTRE, ALEKSANDRA KRAUS, SAYING: "We have about 1,500 people on the other side awaiting what would happen in the next hours to come." Ahmad Dehri from Iran is one of those now in limbo. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MIGRANT FROM IRAN, AHMAD DEHRI, SAYING: "I prefer to die than go back to Iran, because that situation there is not good for us. Because there are some persons (there) who don't do anything about humanity, and they put us in the jail." Dehri is hoping to reach Germany and study to become a human rights activist. Under the new policy he's going to have to wait longer to realize that dream. Though, the path for war refugees could get rockier too. Some right wing parties in the EU want to halt the influx of refugees out of concern that islamic State militants are using the migrant flow as cover to reach Europe.

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Balkan states begin rejecting economic migrants

Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 01:31