Македонски Shqip English

Jelena Nedovikj

Irregular migration and readmission in Montenegro

Irregular migration is a problem that arose from the signing of the Schengen Agreement and the creation of an "unlimited border" of the member states of the European Union. In order to create a freedom of movement  for EU citizens, irregular migration has occurred due to economic and other reasons, so Member States had to make various regulations and strengthen border crossings in order to solve the problem of irregular migration. Based on the above, Montenegro, as a future EU Member State, must have the same rules in this area as the EU that emphasizes security within the member states, and thus will itself solve the problems of irregular migration. It can be said that Montenegro's "aspiration" towards the EU is a positive step and a great driving force for the creation of a Space of Justice, Freedom and Security, but the most important thing that Montenegro needs as a state is to create the rule of law and preserve its own borders, but not in a way that only regulations are passed, but that they are imputed in an adequate way. The fight against irregular migration is one of Montenegro's important priorities in the path of EU accession, therefore cooperation and exchange of information is necessary both at the national, regional and international level. It should be noted that irregular migration in Montenegro has the character of transit through the territory of the Republic of Montenegro through the Republic of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina towards the EU countries and these are mostly economic migrants whose goal is to provide better life and better conditions for their families and their families which will illegally cross the state borders of countries through which they can reach the countries that are economically prosperous and stable the shortest way. Statistics confirm that the unstable state of political and economic opportunities continues to increase the number of illegal migrants from the Afro-Asian countries. Irregular migrants, most often through the territories of Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Albania or Kosovo, are coming to Montenegro, where they have been applying for asylum in significant numbers or continuing to the European Union lately.

Regarding the readmission of irregular migrants, or when we talking about the voluntary or forced return of persons who are unjustly resident in the territory of a state in their countries of origin, in a huge number of cases, they are denied asylum seekers but also others.

These include the cases of persons who have expired: they are primarily subject to deportations that are carried out in a different (and country of origin with less binding) procedure. Apart from asylum seekers, the readmission includes stateless persons, but it is only about those persons who are undoubtedly establishes some kind of connection with Montenegro.

"The agreement between the EU and Montenegro on the readmission of persons who are illegally staying", as is precisely referred to as the agreement defining the readmission process, defines in detail the rights and obligations of the signatory states. It is said to sign "with the desire to establish a rapid and an effective identification procedure and the safe and orderly return of persons who do not meet the conditions of entry, stay or residence in the territory of Montenegro or some of the Member States of the European Union, as well as facilitating the transit of these persons in the community. "Rights and obligations apply equally to both contractual "faltering" and underlining the "spirit of cooperation" speaks about the fact that the authorities of Montenegro have been respected and informed from the first to the last moment of readmission, which will be said directly involved. Prior to all other of our services, first of all, the Ministry of interior of Montenegro (MI) and this institution definitely has the best insight into the readmission process from all other institutions.

The readmission procedure is, in short, the following: the police of the country of requesting  (the definition under the agreement of the country of residence of the person subject to readmission) starts the procedure of confirming the citizenship of the person whose residence or residence requirement in that country is denied: the Ministry of Interior of Montenegro receives a request for confirmation of identity, and then, on the basis of the signed Agreement (which is binding), sends a positive response to the request for the readmission of the police of the requesting State. Within three working days, the embassy or consular mission of Montenegro in that country shall issue a travel document for the return of the person to be taken over by Montenegro. At the same time, the prayer country gives deadline  to returnees for readmission, usually three months, to leave the country themselves. If they opt for voluntary departure, they get money for the trip and one-time financial assistance. Voluntary departure is always the best decision, because returnees can prepare for the trip, preserve their movable property, and most importantly, it is possible to obtain certificates of completion of schooling for children, thus avoiding many later problems.

The unfortunate side of voluntary returns is that the returnees often lose track of every trace: although the readmission process has been in place since 1996 (if we keep up with the war processes of the nineties, not earlier emigration), very indicative data on the number of returnees is mentioned. If this is a reluctant return, there are many problems for returnees and, as demonstrated by the practice so far, a space for serious human rights violations opens.

So far, no similar violations of human rights of irregular migrants have been recorded in Montenegro. However, there is no official report of the Institution of the Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms of Montenegro, which would indicate that (no) there is a violation of human rights in dealing with these persons. Namely, the new Law of foreigners, which was adopted in Montenegro in 2018, prescribes that the Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms monitors the enforcement of forced removal and the taking of measures for the protection of human rights and freedoms of a foreigner who is forcibly removed. Also, in accordance with the Foreigners  Act, the police is obliged to submit to the Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms a notice on the time, place and manner of forced eviction of the alien and the act on the basis of which the forcible removal of a foreigner is carried out; at the request of the Protector, make available all information within the competence of the police, provide direct insight into the official records, documents and data, and submit a copy of the requested documents and documents, regardless of the degree of secrecy; to allow free access to all premises where the forgings  are forced to move away. One of the essential clauses of this law is that it allows, or gives right to foreigners to address the Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms. Namely, any foreigner who believes that he is subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment by staff or other detainees at the shelter can address the Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms.

Namely, the Law on Foreigners clearly defines the conditions for expulsion of a foreigner who resides illegally in Montenegro. Apart from the Law, the procedures for returning persons are prescribed by Readmission Agreements and their implementation protocols.

Montenegro has signed Redemption Agreements with the European Union, the Republic of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Albania, the Kingdom of Norway, the Swiss Confederation, the Republic of Kosovo, the Republic of Macedonia, the Republic of Moldova, the Republic of Serbia, the Republic of Turkey and the Republic of Moldova.

On the basis of the signed Agreements, Montenegro is obliged to accept and safely return not only citizens of Montenegro, but also every third citizen and / or stateless person who does not fulfill the conditions for entering, staying or residing in a certain territory of the state of the requesting State, if the conditions set forth in the Agreement are fulfilled. On the other hand, the Contracting States undertake to act in the same way, in accordance with the provisions of the Agreement and when Montenegro is declared as a State of prayer. In addition to return and acceptance, the Agreement defines the modality of transfers and the mode of transport and the protection of personal data.

The goals of the Redemption Agreement are to create the conditions for better organized, reciprocal and institutionalized acceptance of nationals of the Contracting Parties, third countries and stateless persons who do not have the right to enter, stay or reside in a particular country, as well as to transit them.

At all stages of readmission, the human rights of irregular migrants must be respected and protected. This especially when it comes to vulnerable groups.

Montenegro has adopted the Reintegration Strategy for persons returned under the readmission agreement for the period 2016-2018, as well as the Action Plan for Implementation of the Reintegration Strategy for Persons Returned under the Readmission Agreement for the period 2016-2020. years.

However, apart from the need for harmonization of the Montenegro regulations with EU regulations, there is an emphasized need for the people, that is, there is not enough police force in the Montenegro to answer the problem of (irregular) migration. Montenegro's migration authorities are expected to function on standards that sometimes represent completely new concepts and require additional skills and resources. Human resource development appears to be fairly low on the list of priorities for most migration bodies, which can lead to a situation where ineffective recruitment procedures, selection, and lack of staff improvements reduce the overall capacity of these authorities.

Namely, it can be concluded that Montenegro brings a large number of legal regulations in these areas, but does not fully apply them. Also, Montenegro, regardless of the fact that it is in the process of adopting and applying all regulations in order to comply with the acquis, and Montenegro must strengthen the role of its authorities in the areas that comprise the Area of ​​Justice, Freedom and Security, to which they belong and migration. 

Jelena Nedovic , Independent Advisor

Institution of Human Rights and Freedoms of

Montenegro - Ombudsman