Human Rights and Refugees Ministry not in charge of migrants

Source: N1

Bosnia’s Human Rights and Refugees Ministry said they are not competent to deal with the entrance, movement and accommodation of migrants in the country as well as their health care and social protection unless they express their intent and claim asylum. Their treatment is exclusively in the competence of the Security Ministry and Border Police.

“The Human Rights and Refugees Ministry is in charge of taking care of foreign nationals to which Bosnia’s Security Ministry recognises their refugee status or subsidiary protection. Ever since the migrants started entering the country, the Security Ministry has not once recognised the refugee status to any of the migrants,” the Ministry said. “Only 14 persons were given subsidiary protection of which only one is a migrant – a Syrian child placed in a Mostar foster care facility.”

Since 2000, the Ministry has been taking care of 33 people to whom the Ministry recognised the refugee status in 2000 and these are families from Kosovo/Serbia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova and Montenegro. These people are currently based at the Salakovac migrant centre, near the southern town of Mostar.

At the end of September, Bosnia’s Security Minister Dragan Mektic held a press conference saying that the exact number of migrants heading to Western European countries whose entry into Bosnia was registered was 14,969, of which 13,958 expressed an intention to seek asylum, but only 399 actually did that.

Over 1,000 refugees and migrants were registered sleeping in the open in Bihac and Velika Kladusa, two towns in the north-western Bosnia near the Croatian border.

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Bosnia state authorities’ attempts at refurbishing inadequate facilities where migrants are currently accommodated have been slow due to lack of funding and cooperation from local counterparts.

The Human Rights and Refugees Ministry also said they provided the Salakovac centre to the Security Ministry for the accommodation of migrants in Bosnia, which now houses 254 migrants – mostly families with children whose status as refugees was not recognised but they have expressed their intent or have already claimed asylum in Bosnia.

“The Ministry is monitoring the situation and the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by all institutions at all levels of government in the country and we will continue to initiate activities which will enable the protection of human rights and the rights of children migrants, in cooperation with the UNICEF, International Organisation for Migrations (IOM), the UNHCR, Red Cross, Bosnian Women's Initiative (BHWI) Foundation, Save the Children organisation and others.”