Hundreds of migrants places in the improvised migrant centre Vucjak near the northern Bosnian city of Bihac have been freezing for weeks, and the arrival winter made the situation even worse.
Some tents have collapsed under the snow and migrants welcomed the first snow of 2019 in flipflops.
Mnogi migranti u improviziranom kampu Vučjak prvi ovosezonski snijeg dočekali su u papučamapic.twitter.com/284XaVInkL— TV N1 Sarajevo (@N1infoSA)December 3, 2019
According to the latest information, some 600 migrants reside there and they as well as Bihac residents expect the relocation to a new camp near the capital of Sarajevo, but the authorities still have no idea when that could happen.
Snijeg i led prekrili migrantski kamp Vučjakpic.twitter.com/OWePwbcHaf— TV N1 Sarajevo (@N1infoSA)December 3, 2019
One of the migrants in Vucjak, Ariya Shams, told N1 that conditions are severe.
“We are in very bad conditions. there is snow and the summer is very hard. There's no place to sleep and everything is bad. Very bad conditions. We need help from European countries. my name is Ariya Shams from Afghanistan. I spent five years travelling to Europe but they did not receive us. We are poor and that is why we are going to European countries,” Shams said.
He claims their families are surrounded by war and fighting and that is why they are fleeing for Europe.
Migrant u Vučjaku: "Putujem prema Evropi već pet godina. Uslovi ovdje su jako loši jer pada snijeg. Ovdje je loše i ljeti jer se nema gdje spavati i sve je loše. Potrebna nam je pomoć iz evropskih zemalja. Ljudi u Afganistanu su siromašni i zbog toga idemo ka evropskim državama"pic.twitter.com/BjPqNH87TJ— TV N1 Sarajevo (@N1infoSA)December 3, 2019
Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatovic came to Bosnia to visit the improvised migrant centre Vucjak as well as Bira and Sedra shelters in Bihac and Cazin, as well as the Usivak migrant centre near Sarajevo.
During her visit, Mijatovic will hold meetings with representatives of state and cantonal authorities, as well as international organizations and non-governmental organizations dealing with migration.
She will present her preliminary observations at a press conference scheduled for December 6.
The northern Bosnian towns of Bihac and Velika Kladusa were hit the hardest with the migrant crisis affecting Bosnia after Hungary and Bulgaria raised hard borders, preventing them from coming into their countries on their way to western Europe, thus effectively cutting the “Balkan route.”
The migrants are entering Serbia and from there crossing into Bosnia, in an attempt to enter the EU via the Bosnian-Croatian border.
After the EU and Croatia invested heavily in Croatia's border police, the migrants found themselves stuck in Bosnia. Bosnian authorities now fear the EU measures will make the country into a permanent migrant hotspot.