for addressing migrant smuggling prevention and/or the protection of smuggled migrants

Security for Human Beings and Borders – Combating Smuggling of Migrant 

in the Western Balkans



Macedonian Young Lawyers Association

Donbas 14/1-6

Skopje, North Macedonia

Phone: +389 2 3220 870




The Western Balkans (WB) continued to be a transit route for irregular migrants trying to reach Western Europe from Turkey. Despite a significant decrease in the number of irregular migrants arriving at the EU’s external borders since the migration crisis in 2015, the migration pressure in the Western Balkans remains high, as does smuggling and the demand for facilitation services.[1] For example, during the first ten months of 2020, detections on the Western Balkan routes were 122% higher compared to the same period in 2019 indicating continued significant movements in the region and beyond.[2] The authorities of some of the countries in the region have implemented measures such as strengthening border controls, which have had an effect on the migratory routes, hindering movements throughout the region. At the same time, these measures primarily appear to slow down or divert migratory movements, instead of preventing or deterring them altogether. Irregular migrants usually try to cross borders multiple times and many eventually succeed. Another side-effect of these measures is that they increase the demand for facilitation services.[3] In the Western Balkans as an active transit area, migrants staying for a longer period of time (particularly those with an unregulated status), difficulties crossing state borders, and an increase in the price of smuggling certainly represent circumstances that increase migrants’ risk factors and expose them to various forms of abuse, violence or exploitation, especially the most vulnerable among them (women, children, unaccompanied minors). Although deaths along the WB route are relatively rare, they do occur. Smuggling of migrants is continuously among the main topics in EU Progress Reports for WB countries.

The number of migrants who entered illegally to North Macedonia ( or were prevented from entering) in 2020 was 32100[4], but only 211[5] persons applied for  asylum in North Macedonia, decrease in the number of asylum claims compared to 2019 ( 490 persons applied for asylum). In this period, there were no intentions for asylum claims submitted in the country.  Subsidiary protection was granted only to 1 person, while there were no refugee statuses granted in 2020.  The Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Macedonia has filed 230 criminal charges against 269 foreign nationals, mostly for forging documents, failing to act in accordance with the health regulations during a pandemic, endangering security, etc. At the same time, MoI filed 65 criminal charges against 91 persons (81 citizens and 10 foreigners) for smuggling of migrants, an increase in number of criminal charges compare with the previous year[6].


Purpose of the Call

This action is launched within the project “Security for Human Beings and Borders -Combating Smuggling of Migrants in the Western Balkans” that was developed as a regional response of 7 CSOs affiliated in the Balkan Refugees and Migration Council (BRMC): Albanian Helsinki Committee (AHC), Belgrade Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), Civic Alliance from Montenegro (GAMN), Civil Rights Program Kosovo*[7](CRP/K), Group 484, Macedonian Young Lawyers Association (MYLA) and Vaša prava Bosnia and Herzegovina (VP BiH), as well as Danish Refugee Council (DRC) to the burning common problem along the Western Balkans Migration Route – smuggling of migrants. The project is funded by European Union within the scope of Civil Society Facility and Media Programme 2018-2019 under the lot “Enhancing CSOs’ engagement in protection sensitive migration management”.


  1. Objectives (See Guidelines for the applicants Section 2)

The overall objective is contribution to the EU approximation process by establishing protective sensitive migration management in WB with fine balance between security and border protection of the countries and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants.


Three specific objectives will be pursued:

(a) to support CSOs in conducting activities for prevention of migrant smuggling;

(b) to support CSOs in providing effective protection services to smuggled migrants;

(c) to support CSOs in engaging to advocacy activities for migrant`s rights.


  1. Target groups (See Guidelines for the applicants Section 2)


  1. Migrants, particularly smuggled migrants;
  2. Vulnerable groups of migrants (e.g. women, children, persons with disabilities, the elderly, unaccompanied and separated migrant children, victims of torture, etc.);
  3. State and local institutions;
  4. Media;
  5. Local citizens and municipalities.


  1. Scope of activities

The applicants are invited to propose activities they assess as relevant to the objectives of the Call.

Examples of the activities (See Guidelines for the applicants Section 4 – Types of activity):

  • activities aiming to deliver concrete public services responding to the needs of smuggled migrants, including legal aid, psychosocial support, healthcare, etc.;
  • activities supporting adequate attention to gender issues in the migration-related contexts;
  • media campaigns, production of news and relevant information tools (leaflets etc.);
  • activities strengthening the watchdog role of CSOs in the implementation of relevant policies and reforms;
  • policy monitoring and publication of relevant monitoring reports;
  • research and analysis of relevant media content;
  • activities that promote implementation of relevant laws and regulations;
  • activities that support discussion between different stakeholders and/or consultation with stakeholders, including establishment of dialogue with political parties or local legislative bodies;
  • activities that promote cooperation and exchange between different local communities and self-governments, related to protection of migrants;
  • other activities enhancing protection-sensitive migration management.


Rules for Call for proposals (See Guidelines for the applicants, Section 4.)

Eligibility of applicants

In order to be eligible for a grant, the applicant must:

  • be a legal person registered before 1 March 2019;
  • be established in North Macedonia
  • be non-profit-making;
  • civil society organization;
  • be directly responsible for the preparation and management of the action.


Geographic coverage. Proposed activities must take place in the territory North Macedonia

Duration of the proposed activities. The applicant should foresee all project activities to be completed in six (6) months from the date of contracting.

Number of grants. Up to four national projects will be supported. Each organisation can submit only one application.

Size of funds. For each project from 3.500,00 EUR to 5,000.00 EUR.


INFO SESSION (See Guidelines for the applicants, Section 5.)

Info session on the selection process regarding the implementation, financial monitoring of the project and reporting will be organized online on May 10, 2021 All interested parties can apply for participating in Info session by May 7, 2021


APPLICATION SUBMISSION PROCEDURE (See Guidelines for the applicants, Section 5)

The application must be submitted on the provided application forms, in the English or Macedonian language and must be completed in full according to the given instructions in the Guidelines for applicants.



Contact: Project proposals, applications for info session, as well as all questions and requests for any clarifications should be sent to e-mail:


[1] Frontex, “Risk Analysis for 2020,” Frontex, 2020, (accessed February 4, 2021).

[2] EPRS, European Parliament, Understanding EU action against migrant smuggling, January 2021, PE 659.450, European Union: EPRS.

[3] Europol, Frontex, & EASO, Tackling Migrant Smuggling in the Western Balkans, January 2020.

[4] MoI Annual report for 2020 available at:

[5] Ibid, p.81

[6] Ibid, p 89

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.


🇬🇧 Please download all necessary documents in English below:


Gudlines for Applicants_ENG

Annex A – Application Form __ENG

Aneks B_Budget template_ENG

Annex C_FIF

🇲🇰 Please download all necessary documents in Macedonian below:

Повик за предлози_МКД

Упатства за апликанти_MKD

Анекс Б_Образец за буџет_МКД

Анекс А – Образец за пријава __МКД

Annex C_FIF