Security Minister: It may take years to ease migrant situation in Bosnia

NEWS 25.01.2021 21:39
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Source: N1

The migrant situation in Bosnia is a lot better now than it used to be several months earlier, BiH Security Minister Selmo Cikotiv told N1 Monday adding that living conditions in the Lipa migrant camp in north-west of the country have improved greatly according to EU representatives and other competent organisations.

“The situation regarding the improvised Lipa camp is complex and we have different assessments, these are not standard conditions. EU representatives are astonished and surprised. They are happy with what they saw. Conditions in the tents are now acceptable in the sense that they are well insulated, have quality floors, sleeping bags, mattresses, heating, hygiene conditions exist, and food – they have three meals a day,” Said Cikotic in a conversation with N1's Sanela Dujkovic.

The Council of Ministers, as the Bosnian government is called officially, adopted an action plan and formed a working group on the development of the migrant strategy, he noted and added that the camp was declared a migrant centre outside the city centre.

“These are elements of the new approach to migration management. It will take months, maybe years to spread the burden of the crisis across the country. We have made a plan within the Ministry, and expect to have the support and understanding [from the government] that migrant reception centres be deployed on the eastern border, northern and southern, which would mean that Republika Srpska entity and cantons with Croat majority take over a small part of the burden,” Cikotic announced.

He also stressed the need for the formation of a special body to deal with migration and asylum issues.

“Now we don’t have the political will, applicable laws, we don’t even have the body responsible for managing migrations,” he added, saying new agencies are being considered because the current ones are under capacitated.

The BiH Security Minister pointed out that so far 90 percent of migrants end up in the desired locations and that this is inevitable. He reiterated that migration cannot be viewed only as a security problem but as a global process.

He told N1 that there are currently less than 7,000 migrants in the country, 4,500 of which are in the Sarajevo Canton area and 2,500 in the Una-Sana Canton area. There are also between 980 and 990 migrants on the Lipa camp, he added.

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