The International Organisation for Migrations (IOM) has helped the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to open two new temporary centres for the accommodation of migrants, one near Sarajevo and another one in the northwest of Bosnia, the IOM Chief of Mission for Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed.
“This won’t only provide an adequate temporary accommodation and help for migrants who are travelling through the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but will contribute to the reduction of pressure on local population, especially in Bihac, and will also improve the security situation in the affected communities,” said the IOM’s coordinator in Bosnia, Peter Van der Auweraert.
The Usivak barracks in Hadzici settlement, near Sarajevo, accepted mostly single men who were sent back from the Una-Sana Canton (USC), the northwestern Bosnia’s region. The families were sent to the Salakovac refugee centre in the south and Asylum Centre Delijas, also near Sarajevo.
Over the past days the situation in the northwest of Bosnia, where according to some estimates was more than 10,000 of migrants, worsened due to the migrants’ request to cross the border with Croatia so they could continue their journey to the western European countries.
After a brief clash between the migrants and police at the Bosnia-Croatia border, the border crossing point Maljevac was closed and still has not opened for the traffic.
As a result of the local population’s protest over the influx of migrants and, as they said, jeopardised safety, the law enforcement agencies in the Una-Sana Canton agreed with Bosnia’s Security Minister they would block the further arrival of migrants to the territory of this region via regular bus and train lines.
Owing to the IOM’s efforts, the facilities of a local factory Bira in the northwestern town of Bihac will be turned into a migrant centre, which will accept the first groups of migrants these days. The families, children without escort and other vulnerable categories will be the priority.
The IOM will continue securing the transfer of up to 450 migrants to the factory’s facilities in the following days, the organisation said, which will form the conditions to remove the temporary tent camps the migrants installed in the public areas of Bihac.
The European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) and Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) secured EUR 6 million and the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) EUR 1 million to support the IOM’s interventions towards the solution to the migrant issue in Bosnia and Herzegovina.