Due to escalation of the migrant crisis, citizens of the Una-Sana Canton (USC) held a protest rally in Bihac on Saturday evening to warn that the situation is worsening because of the inability of relevant authorities to protect the eastern border, which is very porous and allows a large number of migrants to illegally cross into Bosnia and Herzegovina from Serbia. The gathered citizens expressed dissatisfaction with the work of the Council of Ministers the state Presidency and Border Police.

Protesters presented a list of demands. Primarily they want the migrant reception centres to be relocated to less populated areas and the protection of the eastern border to be improved. Activists who spoke at the rally warned that the migrants are not properly taken care of, and they are allowed to roam the streets freely, which then leads to many criminal offenses committed by migrants and overall fear amongst the local population.

Migrants USC Oct 3

For the past three years, Una-Sana Canton which borders with Croatia has been the hotspot of illegal migration. In an effort to stop the influx, local authorities decided to impose a ban on entry of any more migrants into the canton territory. Since the authorities of the entity of Republic of Srpska refuse to accept any migrants on their territory, a number of migrants got stuck at the inter-entity boundary line, which resulted in several clashes of migrants with the police.

The tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina decided last week that the accommodation centres for migrants must be relocated outside the residential areas. Currently there are five reception camps on the Una-Sana Canton territory, accommodating around 3,500 refugees and migrants, to the full capacity, and approximately the same number of the migrants are staying in abandoned buildings and parks.

The migrants do not wish to stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina but with Croatia sealing its borders they are often left stranded in the country.