Citizens protest accommodation of migrants in local hotel

NEWS 06.07.2018 13:31
Source: N1

Members of a citizens' association from northwest Bosnia are on Friday protesting against authorities letting migrants occupy a private hotel in the area in the middle of the tourist season.

Thousands of migrants are stuck in the Una-Sana Canton, occupying streets and parks and waiting to sneak over the nearby Croatian border into the EU.  

Authorities have decided to remove them from the streets and put them into the popular ‘Sedra’ hotel for which they would reportedly pay the owner some 35,000 Euro a month.  

“We have nothing against humanitarian actions in exchange for money, but to privately rent out a hotel right at the most beautiful part of the river Una and in the middle of a tourist settlement makes absolutely no sense,” a statement from the association said. 

“There are state-owned facilities such as barracks and similar buildings which are secure and fenced and these poor people should be accommodated there, under the control of the state,” it said.

Since the beginning of 2018, the number of migrants passing through Bosnia has drastically increased. The country became a significant transit point for the thousands of migrants after numerous surrounding countries closed their borders.

The migrants aim to reach EU countries through Bosnia and Croatia. Croatian border police, however, often turns them away from the border and back into Bosnia.

The northwestern cities of Bihac, Cazin and Velika Kladusa are located near Croatia’s border and are strongly affected by the situation.

Bosnia’s Security Minister, Dragan Mektic, visited Bihac on Thursday to discuss the situation with local authorities, resulting in the proposal to accommodate the migrants in the local hotel. 

Tourism is the main source of income for many people living in this area as tourists flock every summer to see the Una river and its waterfalls.