Serbian officials on Monday voiced their concern over the situation on the Macedonian-Greek border, while the issue of whether Serbia is breaching its asylum law by not letting in economic migrants was raised in public.
Serbian Labour Minister Aleksandar Vulic said the situation on the Greek-Macedonian border was worrisome because of the increasing influx of economic migrants, but that Serbia abided by the position agreed by the states in the region.
"We can't help. I wish we could. Serbia's position is very clear. We will act as all other countries on (the migration) route act," he told reporters, adding that when Croatia and Slovenia banned the entry of certain categories of migrants, Serbia was forced to protect itself and its territory.
However, the director of the Centre for Asylum Seekers' Protection and Assistance, Rados Djurovic, said that Serbia was in a difficult position because, by breaking its asylum law, it risked human rights. He said there was no principle in international law to define a whole nation as economic refugees.
"We mustn't apply force towards those people... If they face resistance, they will attempt alternative routes, smuggling will be incited... I don't think this will stop people from heading West," he told Radio-Television Serbia.
Vuling, however, said that the decision to stop economic migrants from entering Serbia did not endanger anyone's rights. "A migrant is entitled to apply for asylum, whether they come from war zones or for economic reasons."
Belgrade media reported that there were fewer migrants in south Serbia in the past few days but that the situation on the Greek-Macedonian border was critical as several migrants from Iran, Kurdistan and Pakistan, as reported by Macedonia's TV Telma, have sown their mouths with thread and needle in protest against Macedonia's decision not to let them in.
"By doing so, migrants wish to say that they aren't giving up from their intention to go to an EU country," TV Telma said.
According to Macedonian media, 5,797 migrants entered Macedonia on Sunday.