European Western Balkans

AI: Situation in BiH a consequence of atrocious EU migrant policy

Migrants and refugees in Roszke, Hungary; Photo:Tanjug/AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic

SARAJEVO – The current situation with migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a consequence of the authorities’ intransigence but also of atrocious European Union’s migrant policy, said the European office of the Amnesty International, urging the European Commission to work with BiH authorities to develop long-term solutions to meet the needs of the people, N1 reports.

The organisation warned that residents of the Lipa camp do not have access to water, sanitation or regular meals, urging the European institutions to solve the problem in Bosnia’s northwest, where hundreds of migrants were left in the open after the Lipa camp, some 15 kilometres outside the town of Bihać, closed down last month.

Read more: EC warns BiH its failure to manage migrant crisis could hurt its EU aspirations

Deputy Director of Foreigners’ Affairs Service Mirsad Buzar said that the BiH Armed Forces have set up some 80 army tents for the accommodation of 947 migrants, adding that they are mostly of Pakistani origin.

The mayor of Bihać Šuhret Fazlić said the city had mostly been coping with the problem by itself over the past three years, and only recently has the state-level started playing an active role in this.

“Migrants in Bihać reside in the Retirement Home, in abandoned factories, ruins. No one alive knows how many there are, and according to the latest estimates, there are between 750 and 1,000 migrants [in the streets of Bihać]. The state didn’t start doing more, but it only now started doing its job. So far, we have dealt with these problems on our own, with the help of the IOM and organizations”, Fazlić told N1, adding that the main features of the crisis were a large number of migrants, the disorderly situation and the fact that the city of Bihać had to deal with it alone.

Data shows Croatia dumping migrants into Bosnia

Official figures claim only 200 migrants were returned from Croatia to Bosnia, but we have 7,200 individuals claiming they were returned from Croatia to Bosnia, BiH investigative journalist Avdo Avdić said for N1, claiming all this can be confirmed by comparing data from the web portal of the Slovenian police.

“Slovenian police returned over 9,000 migrants to Croatia in 2020. This can be seen on the web portal of the Slovenian police which clearly states the number of migrants returned to the territory of Croatia. These data are clear evidence that Croatia transferred migrants illegally to the territory of BiH. This is clear evidence that over 7,000 migrants were illegally dumped into Bosnia last year,” said Avdić.

Read more: Borrell calls for ‘evenly’ distribution of migrant centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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