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Belgrade, Serbia: “The police fired on us, and I don’t know where my father went”

16 Jan 2017

Parwez is fifteen years old and comes from Nangarhar in Afghanistan. He shares his experiences leaving Afghanistan and now being stuck in the freezing conditions in Serbia.

“I’m travelling with my cousin – it’s just the two of us now. I’m 15 and my cousin is 16. My father was with us too, but we lost him on the way, in the forest on the border between Iran and Turkey. The police fired on us, and I don’t know where my father went. After that, we moved on to Bulgaria and to Serbia. My father always told me: ‘You have to be strong, because the way that we are going is very hard. Your life is in danger, you have to leave Afghanistan.’ We’ve been here in Belgrade for 12 days. We’re sleeping in an old train station, in a big hall. It’s not good at all, it’s too smoky. We don’t have clean water to drink. At 1 pm, volunteers come and give us food, and sometimes we also eat eggs.

"I say to my cousin: ‘Where is my mother, where is my father, where is my family?’”

Before we left, my father said: ‘There’s no peace here, there’s only war, that’s why we have to go.’ My father had been to France before for his job. When we left, I expected that we’d go to France and that there’d be no war. I feel like I don’t have any chance. I told the authorities that I want to go to one of the camps [in Serbia]. They told me that I can go to a closed camp, but I don’t want to live like that. I’d like to go to an open camp.

The way we have been treated makes me feel really sad. It wasn’t a good situation in Bulgaria. The police came, and they beat me. Here in Serbia, a lot of organisations are helping us. But the weather is too cold. My family are still in Afghanistan. Sometimes I talk to them on the phone. I’m really sad now because my mother isn’t here, I don’t have my family, it’s not a good life. When I sleep at night, I always cry. I say to my cousin: ‘Where is my mother, where is my father, where is my family?’”