The EU Delegation and the Office of the EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina have called on all levels of government to urgently address challenges the migrant flow is posing to the country.
“All authorities must step up their efforts and take responsibility”, reads the statement published on the official EUD/EUSR web site.
“The EU condemns the forcible transfer of hundreds of migrants to the improvised Vucjak shelter by the Una-Sana Canton police. We call upon the authorities in Bihac and Una-Sana Canton to immediately cease the forcible transfer of migrants to Vucjak”, the statement reads. “We have been clear in our discussions with all the relevant authorities that the Vucjak shelter must be closed. It is not only unsafe but also an undignified location”.
The EU office reminded that authorities of the City of Bihac and the Una-Sana Canton had been shouldering this problem so far, and underlined that they “must not be left alone”.
“As winter is approaching, authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina must not put human lives in peril. As an immediate priority, existing facilities should be expanded to offer dignified living conditions. Furthermore, suitable alternative facilities need to be identified by the country’s authorities now”, the statement reads.
According to the statement, the EU is ready to deploy significant assistance for the development of those sites. “The EU has provided EUR 34 million since 2018. This support includes provision of shelter, food, water, sanitation, clothing, psychosocial assistance and access to education and health in five reception centers”.
EU assistance, the statement reads, is also strengthening migration management capacities through provision of the necessary equipment and assistance to the Una-Sana Canton Police, the Service for Foreigners’ Affairs, the Border Police of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Sector for Asylum. It also helps the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the voluntary return of migrants to their countries of origin.
“The EU will continue to support improving the capacity of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s authorities for coping with the migration challenges, but we also expect all the authorities in the country to work together in good faith to find ways for burden sharing”, reads the statement issued by the EU Delegation and the Office of the Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina.