I welcome the closure of the improvised camp Vucjak near Bihać where migrants and asylum seekers had been languishing for months in absolutely dire conditions, Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatovic said Wednesday, on the occasion of the closure of the notorious Vucjak camp.
"This much-needed closure was made possible thanks to co-operation between the state and the Una-Sana and the Sarajevo canton authorities, and to the committed work of various humanitarian and international organisations engaged on this issue," Mijatovic said.
The Commissioner noted that almost all the people living in the camp accepted to be relocated without any resistance.
"I applaud the dedication of the staff of the Red Cross of Bosnia and Herzegovina who had been doing their best to meet the basic humanitarian needs of the migrants in the extremely difficult and inhumane conditions in Vučjak. I also praise the important work of the many NGOs, INGOs and volunteers, some of whom I met during my recent visit, who have worked tirelessly to provide this population with the much-needed assistance and protection," she said.
Mijatovic argues that the latest development is a wakeup call for the new Council of Ministers (Bosnian government) to assume full responsibility for migration issues and ensure that human rights of refugees and migrants, including asylum seekers, are respected.
"This should be done in close co-operation with the international community and civil society actors. My dialogue with the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina on these issues will continue," the Commissioner concluded.
Some 700 migrants were relocated from the Vucjak migrant camp near the northern Bosnian city of Bihac where migrants had no adequate accommodation, no running water, no place to take a bath, and had to burn wood to warm their tents.
They were taken to camps Miral, Usivak and the newly formed camp Blazuj, in the barracks near Sarajevo.