Bosnian government concludes: Migrants going back to Bira camp

NEWS 31.12.2020 10:31
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REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

The migrants from the destroyed Lipa camp, Bosnia's northwest, will be accommodated in the Bira camp facilities in Bihac, the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina decided on Thursday in an urgent session, despite the strong opposition of local authorities in that northwestern town.

Security Minister Selmo Cikotic briefly confirmed the information to N1's reporter.

The Council of Ministers stated that local authorities in Bihac and the Una-Sana Canton need to obey the decision from March 2019, which determined the Bira camp as a temporary shelter of migrants.

The decision comes amid ongoing migrant crisis with several thousands of residents of now-former Lipa camp left in the open at sub-zero temperatures after the International Organisation for Migrations (IOM) staff left the camp and most of its tents were set on fire.

These people are dying! This is a humanitarian catastrophe in 21st Century Europe! Here's my report: @N1info #migrants #HumanRights #Humanitariancrisis @CNN pic.twitter.com/3tDEocJ6QI

— Ika Ferrer Gotić N1 (@IkaFerrerGotic) December 31, 2020

Authorities of Bihac still refuse to accept the migrants in the Bira camp, which closed down late September, claiming that this would harm the security situation in the town.

In a statement issued Thursday morning, the task force managing the migrant crisis in this part of the country, formally the Una-Sana Canton (USK), said the Security Ministry “had no way out of the situation that emerged after the Lipa camp shutdown” and it called on all local and foreign humanitarian organisations to help the migrants with food, medicines, warm clothes and other necessities.

The task force slammed the IOM, the organisation which, as they put it, left 1,400 migrants without basic accommodation conditions, particularly condemning the act of disassembling of tents at the Lipa camp.

The body called on the Council of Ministers to find a different location outside the USK to give migrants the shelter until the works at the Lipa camp are completed.

 

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information become available.