World

Human Rights Watch: Serbia harassing migrants during their exodus to Western Europe

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 file photo, Serbian border police officers detain Kosovo migrants near the northern Serbian town of Subotica, not far from the border between Serbia and Hungary. Human Rights Watch said in its report released Wednesday, April 15 that thousands of people fleeing Afghanistan, Syria and other violence-ravaged countries in Asia and Africa have been targets of assaults, threats, insults and extortion as they pass through Serbia on their way to the border with Hungary where they try to sneak into the European Union. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, File)

    FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 file photo, Serbian border police officers detain Kosovo migrants near the northern Serbian town of Subotica, not far from the border between Serbia and Hungary. Human Rights Watch said in its report released Wednesday, April 15 that thousands of people fleeing Afghanistan, Syria and other violence-ravaged countries in Asia and Africa have been targets of assaults, threats, insults and extortion as they pass through Serbia on their way to the border with Hungary where they try to sneak into the European Union. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 15, 2014 file photo, migrants gather around the fire which they use for cooking and warming themselves at an abandoned brick factory in the northern Serbian town of Subotica, near the border between Serbia and Hungary. Human Rights Watch said in its report released Wednesday, April 15, 2015 that thousands of people fleeing Afghanistan, Syria and other violence-ravaged countries in Asia and Africa have been targets of assaults, threats, insults and extortion as they pass through Serbia on their way to the border with Hungary where they try to sneak into the European Union. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, File)

    FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 15, 2014 file photo, migrants gather around the fire which they use for cooking and warming themselves at an abandoned brick factory in the northern Serbian town of Subotica, near the border between Serbia and Hungary. Human Rights Watch said in its report released Wednesday, April 15, 2015 that thousands of people fleeing Afghanistan, Syria and other violence-ravaged countries in Asia and Africa have been targets of assaults, threats, insults and extortion as they pass through Serbia on their way to the border with Hungary where they try to sneak into the European Union. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 file photo, a migrant leans on a tree with carved inscription: "Syria," waiting for a meal in the center for asylum seekers in the village of Bogovadja, 50 Kilometers (30 Miles) south of Serbian capital, Belgrade. Human Rights Watch said in its report released Wednesday, April 15, 2015 that thousands of people fleeing Afghanistan, Syria and other violence-ravaged countries in Asia and Africa have been targets of assaults, threats, insults and extortion as they pass through Serbia on their way to the border with Hungary where they try to sneak into the European Union. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, File)

    FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 file photo, a migrant leans on a tree with carved inscription: "Syria," waiting for a meal in the center for asylum seekers in the village of Bogovadja, 50 Kilometers (30 Miles) south of Serbian capital, Belgrade. Human Rights Watch said in its report released Wednesday, April 15, 2015 that thousands of people fleeing Afghanistan, Syria and other violence-ravaged countries in Asia and Africa have been targets of assaults, threats, insults and extortion as they pass through Serbia on their way to the border with Hungary where they try to sneak into the European Union. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, File)  (The Associated Press)

A rights group says migrants are experiencing widespread harassment and abuse by police as they cross Serbia while trying to reach Western European states.

Human Rights Watch said in its report released Wednesday that thousands of people fleeing Afghanistan, Syria and other violence-ravaged countries in Asia and Africa have been targets of assaults, threats, insults and extortion as they pass through Serbia on their way to the border with Hungary where they try to sneak into the European Union.

HRW researcher Emina Cerovic says "Serbian authorities should be protecting asylum seekers and immigrants, including children fleeing war and persecution, not allowing the police to victimize them."

The police denied the accusations Wednesday, saying the migrants have not complained to the Serbian authorities.