On about the 13th of June, a group of 22 persons were pushed back from Romania to Serbia. The group consisted of 16 adults (this figure may include older minors) and six younger children. Most of the group were Syrian. The primary respondent for this report was a 26 year old Palestinian man travelling with his wife, his 21 month old daughter and 9 month old son. In addition, his 17-year-old cousin also travelled with them.
The group entered into Romania from Serbia on foot. For three nights the group walked through forests, sleeping during the day. On the third day of their journey, a taxi came and brought the group to a different forest some 10 km away; they were not brought further because the driver was concerned that children would cause them to be caught.
The group again spent the night in the forest. It was cold and the group recalled being harassed by the mosquitoes throughout the night. The next day a car came at 3:00 am and took them to Timisioara. They were delivered to a small basement “apartment” of about 6 square meters, in which all 22 persons stayed for four days.
After four days, the police arrived to the house. The respondent suspected that a neighbor may have seen them and alerted the police to their presence. When this happened, the group fled the apartment and ran to nearby forest. After six hours they were apprehended by more Romanian authorities. The police told them they would interview them and bring them to a camp; the group welcomed this procedure, because, the respondent described, it was better than going back to Serbia. They informed the police of how long they had been in Romania.
However, unbeknownst to them they were already on the way back to Serbia. They were first crammed into the back of a police van for a drive of about one hour. They were then transferred to what the reporter referred to as a “commando” car [no further details were given], which brought them to the border.
At the border, their phones were taken and destroyed; their power banks were also taken. The group did not experience any further violence from the authorities.
The man who made this report did so in fluent German. He was, in fact, born in Germany, lived there for the first fifteen years of his life and attended school there, however, in that time his family’s asylum claim was never completed. His family moved to Lebanon when he was 15; as a Palestinian he has remained stateless in spite of spending the first fifteen years of his life in an EU country.