The UNHCR spokesperson for South-East Europe Neven Crvenkovic told N1 that the migrant situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina has not taken the form of a real crisis yet, but the situation can become critical if no appropriate solutions are adopted.
“The situation can become critical unless certain solutions are adopted and especially if they aren’t implemented. There are action plans from 2015 that were made for the migrant crisis like the one seen in Serbia and Macedonia,” Crvenkovic said. “We will see how these plans will be implemented in Bosnia. The situation is challenging, but in order to avoid a crisis, the authorities must act timely.”
Bosnia’s Council of Ministers (CoM) Chairman Denis Zvizdic scheduled a Migration Coordination Body’s meeting concerning the ever increasing number of migrants in Bosnia.
Crvenkovic said he could not guess the conclusions of the meeting, but he guessed that the meeting will deal with the housing issue for migrants, which is a challenge for Bosnia.
“We know that two weeks ago the CoM tasked the Coordination Body to suggest alternative and additional solutions for the housing of asylum seekers and I suppose their suggestions will be discussed by the CoM,” Crvenkovic said.
He added that the migration through Bosnia is most visible in the Una-Sana Canton and the Sarajevo Canton where most of the asylum seekers are based.
“According to our information which comes from the official information provided by Bosnian institutions, around 3.000 migrants entered Bosnia since 2018. When it comes to asylum seekers, 400 of them entered Bosnia, to date,” Crvenkovic told N1.
Crvenkovic said that according to Bosnian laws, the asylum seekers have the right to accommodation, since Bosnia is a signatory to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees from 1991, and the most important regulations from the Convention have been incorporated into Bosnian laws.
In 2015, the border regimes in the countries of the region have become stricter and barbed-wire was placed along the borders. The UNHCR considers this practice unethical and against the spirit of the Convention as well as against the laws of the signatory states.