Bosnia’s ‘inhumane’ camp circumstances put 1000’s of migrants in danger

Migrants warm up at the migrant camp in Vucjak near Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 6 December 2019Picture copyright
Reuters

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The wintry circumstances in Bosnia are making it harmful for migrants to sleep in makeshift camps


Winter has arrived in Bosnia. However 1000’s of people that entered the nation hoping to make their approach throughout the border to Croatia – and thus, the European Union – are nonetheless right here.

And for a lot of of them, with in a single day temperatures dropping nicely beneath zero, uncomfortable circumstances are quickly turning harmful.


Bedraggled younger males trudge disconsolately alongside the primary highway outdoors Bira, a reception centre run by the Worldwide Organisation for Migration (IOM) within the north-western metropolis of Bihac. Some have mattress rolls tucked beneath their arms.

They’ve been turned away, as a result of the previous fridge manufacturing unit is full to its 2,000 capability.

Inside, the cavernous house provides primary lodging together with sizzling meals, medical care and washing amenities.

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The Bira reception centre provides primary facilities

Camp supervisor Amira Hadzimehmedovic finds turning folks away distressing.

“It makes you’re feeling horrible, to say: ‘Sorry I can not enable you to’ whereas it is chilly is a horrible factor to do,” she says.

“The native authorities banned new arrivals at Bira. Some 2,000 individuals are squatting outdoors with out correct safety.”

Tons of of these have been staying in tents at Vucjak, a camp on a former landfill web site, near Bosnia’s border with Croatia.

The previous week’s snowfall on the mountains round Bihac has made life there much more hazardous.

Picture copyright
Reuters

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The migrant camp in Vucjak close to Bihac doesn’t have working water or correct sanitation

After her go to to Vucjak, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, mentioned it was “inhumane and unacceptable” for folks to be “amassed within the mud” with out working water or satisfactory sanitation.

“The residing circumstances of a whole lot of human beings within the improvised Vucjak camp are shameful. That camp ought to have by no means been opened within the first place,” she mentioned in an announcement.

“It’s now pressing to relocate these folks and supply them with first rate lodging,” she added.

For refugees in Bosnia, a spoil is the one refuge
Bosnia-Herzegovina profile

The municipal authorities in Bihac supplied the positioning at Vucjak – and acknowledge its inadequacy.

However the mayor’s adviser, Edin Moranjkic, says it’s unfair to anticipate a small metropolis like Bihac to imagine accountability for migrants and refugees.

“To start with, native folks had empathy and understanding for migrant points. However there have been issues with behaviour – and the [non-functioning] state authorities. We really feel that our authorities has deserted us.”

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Media captionInside Bosnia’s ‘nightmare’ camp for migrants making an attempt to enter the EU

Dirk Panert got here from Dortmund to arrange a cell reduction operation which initially helped folks at Vucjak.

However he now concentrates his efforts on these sleeping tough within the forested countryside alongside the border.

“These are folks with out sneakers and socks, and infrequently solely [with] one layer of clothes,” he says. “They can not survive like that.”

Small surprise that lots of these with locations at reception centres are planning to remain put by the winter months.

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These in established centres plan to spend the winter there

Hassan got here from Bangladesh and desires to go to Germany or France.

However he says a mattress on the IOM’s Miral centre, in a repurposed PVC door manufacturing unit, close to the border city of Velika Kladusa, is quite a bit higher than the freezing different in Bosnia.

“All of the folks listed here are secure. Possibly after February, I’ll attempt to go to Croatia once more, Inshallah.”

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