Bihac mayor opposed to migrants being placed in centre financed by EU

NEWS 14.01.2021 08:48
Source: N1

uring talks with EU Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Johann Sattler on Wednesday, Bihać Mayor Šuhret Fazlić said that he was opposed to illegal migrants being placed in the Bira camp in that town even though it has the best conditions and was completely built and equipped with EU funds.

“For three years Bihac has been part of the solution to the problems with the migrant crisis and we are prepared to actively participate in caring for migrants who do not have adequate shelter. However, Bira can in no circumstances be used as a migrant camp,” Mayor Fazlic said in a press release.

Accompanied by the German and Austrian Ambassadors to BiH, Margret Uebber and Ulrike Hartmann, Sattler visited the Lipa camp outside Bihac where they also met with Fazlić.

They agreed that it was necessary to improve the conditions at the Lipa camp to accommodate migrants who are still staying out in the open or in abandoned buildings.

The Bira camp is located in the very centre of Bihać and the majority of residents demanded that the migrants be resettled and that the camp be closed down.

Recently, the chairman of the tripartite BiH Presidency, Milorad Dodik, expressed his opposition to placing migrants in the Republika Srpska entity.

About 200 illegal migrants were recently placed in tents in Lipa, while the Red Cross and army tried to set up tents for several hundred migrants who are sleeping out in the open in freezing temperatures.

The migrants were left without any shelter after a fire broke out at the reception centre managed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). More than 900 were left without any shelter then.

The Council of Ministers recently decided that a permanent migrant camp would be set up in Lipa and that it would be equipped with sturdy containers. However,  this operation could last until the end of March.

EU Minister for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell recently tweeted: “People cannot be left dying in the snow, with fully equipped, EU-financed facilities available. Humanitarian assistance should always stand above political leaders’ differences and unite rather divide.”

He reiterated that the EU has to date helped BiH with €88 million to resolve the migrant crisis.

Bosnian authorities have estimated that there are between seven and nine thousand migrants in the country. About two-thirds are placed in private centres in Una-Sana Canton and around Sarajevo while others have found shelter in abandoned buildings or in makeshift shelters in forests in the vicinity of the Croatian border.

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