Serbs will block the road to prevent authorities in Bosnia’s northwestern Una-Sana Canton (USK) from transporting the thousands of migrants currently staying in several migrant reception camps to the mostly Serb-populated area of Medeno Polje, the head of the Committee for the protection of the rights of Serbs in Bosnia's Federation (FBiH) entity, Djordje Radanovic, said on Monday.
"By blocking the Drvar-Bosanski Petrovac road, Serbs will prevent the possible transfer of migrants from Bihac to the village ofMedeno Polje because the implementation of such a decision would violate Annexe 7 of the Dayton Peace Agreement," Radanovic told the Srna news agency.
"I will be there first with my three children, as well as all Serb delegates in the House of Peoples, mayors of four Serb municipalities because we defend the principle of returnees," Radanovic said of the planned blockade.
The statement came after authorities in Bosnia's northwestern Una-Sana Canton (USK) decided to relocate the migrants from the centres ‘Vucjak’, ‘Bira’ and ‘Miral’ to Medeno polje.
“We suggested this location back in 2017, but our partners from the Council of Ministers (Bosnia's government) failed to support us. To this day, we were unable to find a better location for their accommodation,” USK Interior Minister Nermin Kljajic said.
USK Prime Minister Mustafa Ruznic confirmed the information and said that the International Organisation for Migrations (IOM) and the UNHCR will not be able to extend lease contracts with the owners of Bira and Miral migrant reception centres without the approval of the cantonal government.
“Migrants from the area of Vucjak village must be urgently relocated away from residential areas into the existing centres outside of the USK, such as Salakovac, Delijas and Usivak,” Ruznic noted.
But according to Radanovic, placing migrants in Medeno Polje would violate the Annexe 7 od the Dayton Peace Agreement which ended the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia.
The Annexe ensures the rights of all returnees to live in their prewar homes and have their property restored, and Radanovic said that all levels of government in Bosnia must ensure proper conditions for it.
Radanovic pointed out that Medeno Polje is surrounded by the Serb villages of Suvaja, Kolunic, Vrtoce and Vedro Polje populated only by Serbs and that “USK authorities now suggest sending 6,000 or 7,000 Muslims from Afro-Asian countries” there.
He said he will invite all Serb representatives at the levels of the state and FBiH as well as the ambassadors of the countries which signed the Dayton Agreement - USA, Russia, Great Britain, France, Germany, EU - to join the Serbs in their efforts to block the road.
This was the sixth or seventh time that the USK Operative Group proposed placing the migrants in Medeno Polje in the past three years, he said.