Why this story matters:
Besides "Little Picasso," Serbia has shown little enthusiasm when it comes to welcoming asylum seekers.
The country hosts hundreds of refugees who meet all the requirements for asylum and who have nevertheless not been granted the right to stay. Many others are still in legal limbo.
The UNHCR has condemned the asylum procedure in Serbia as "unsafe."
According to experts, the new asylum legislation that was adopted last month will not improve the plight of refugees, and the new procedures are unlikely to be processed more rapidly than those formerly in place.
The Serbian government is trying to boost its PR with the "Little Picasso" story, but it takes more than a press event to cover up for incompetent handling of the migrant question.
Details from the story:
- Farhad Nouri is an 11-year-old refugee from Afghanistan who came to Serbia with his parents and two younger brothers on their way to Western Europe.
- After the so-called "Balkan route" was shut down by tightening border controls, the family was stranded in a migrant camp in Belgrade and applied for asylum in Serbia.
- Farhad was dubbed "Little Picasso" because of his painting abilities and his love for the art of Pablo Picasso.
- Last year, he held his first exhibition and donated all the profits to a sick Serbian boy.
- The new law on asylum should come into effect in June 2018.