Non-Syrian refugees scrapping national identities, using fake passports

By @Shayani92 on
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A Syrian refugee shows his passport after he and 30 other Syrians were rescued by a Greek coast guard patrol boat while attempting to cross from Turkey to Greece on a dinghy during a storm in Kos island, Greece,early May 29, 2015. According to local media, an average of over 200 immigrants arrive in Kos every day in the last two months. Reuters/Yannis Behrakis

As migrants leave their places of birth in the wake of fleeing civil war, persecution or poverty, they are also leaving behind their national identities. Many refugees who have entered Europe crossing the Serbia-Hungary border have dumped their identity cards a few metres from the border on Serbia’s side.

Among the things discovered were a Pakistani ID card, a Bangladeshi ID card, a scarfed woman’s ID card and a torn Iraqi driver's licence. The motive of these refugees? Use fake documents to receive permanent asylum in Austria, Germany or in any other European state, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

One of the reasons behind this move could be the yardstick set to seek permanent asylum in Europe. A refugee who is fleeing a civil war is more likely to get a permanent asylum than an economic refugee fleeing poverty. As a result, an increasing number of refugees claim to have come from Syria.

The border police of Serbia have reported about increasing claims of refugees coming from Syria. They said that almost 3,000 refugees who arrive from Macedonia per day claim to be Syrians, but when asked about legal documents, they fail to produce one.

Border police officer Miroslav Jovic said many of them who show their ID cards have January 1 as the date of their birth, indicating dubious measures may have been adopted to obtaining the IDs. "Guess that's the first date that comes to their mind,” Jovic said, via the Sydney Morning Herald.

Frontex, which operates as the chief European Union border agency, has reported a sharp increase in the number of refugees entering Europe by using fake Syrian passports.

Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri said people mostly from Turkey with fake Syrian passports travel to Europe in the hope of getting permanent asylum. Recently, customs in Germany seized a package containing both genuine and fake Syrian passports, reported the finance ministry.

One of the Syrian refugees, Kamal Saleh, has expressed frustration over the trend, saying the chances of original Syrian refugees getting a permanent asylum visa is reduced. "That is not good for us Syrians because of limited number of people who will get the asylum,” he added.

The ongoing refugee crisis is considered to be the worst since World War II as over 340,000 people have crossed EU borders since January. Most of the refugees fleeing are reported to be from Syria, followed by Afghanistan, Iraq, and Eritrea due to war or poverty or records of human rights abuses.

Last week, Germany abolished asylum seeking rules for Syrians, but for only those refugees who are fleeing for their life. Concerned with potential asylum rejection, many refugees have left behind legal documents of their identities.

One of such refugees is Rafik from Pakistan. "I'm leaving my old life behind," he said while crossing Hungary border. He didn’t have a passport or any other identity documents. Fearing he would be not allowed for seeking asylum, he only provided his first name.

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