Bosnia struggles to cope with arrival of thousands of migrants

Date Publish: 
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

 

Bosnia struggles to cope with arrival of thousands of migrants

15 May, 2018

SARAJEVO/BIHAC (Reuters) - Bosnia is struggling to cope with the arrival of thousands of migrants and refugees, many of whom are sleeping in parks in the capital and other towns as they seek passage into western Europe. The country’s asylum center has 200 beds and 80 to 150 people have arrived each day this month, Security Minister Dragan Mektic said on Monday. About 4,000 people from Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Algeria and Afghanistan have entered Bosnia this year compared with 755 in 2017 and up to 1,500 are stuck there. Many have faced perilous journeys.

“I was sent back from Croatia six times,” said Omar from Iraq, who arrived in Bosnia with his younger brother after spending two years in Greece. Omar declined to give his last name. “I must get to Germany because all my family is there,” said the 19-year-old, echoing many others who spoke in the empty old building in Bihac near the Croatian border where he stayed.

More than a million migrants came to Europe in 2015. The so-called Balkan route into western Europe via Turkey, Greece, Macedonia and Serbia was shut in 2016 when Turkey agreed to stop the flow in return for EU aid and a promise of visa-free travel for its own citizens. But since autumn, following stricter border controls between Serbia, Hungary and Croatia, smugglers have created a new route from Greece via Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia to Croatia and western Europe.

Migrants stranded in Serbia since 2016 are also increasingly crossing to Bosnia and many Iranians are also taking advantage of a visa-free regime introduced last year between Serbia and Iran.

While the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) expects arrivals to continue on average of 350-400 a week, Adnan Tatarevic from Pomozi.ba, a Sarajevo-based NGO that has helped migrants since January, says the numbers are higher. “We expect about 50,000 arrivals by the end of the year,” Tatarevic told Reuters. International groups helping migrants have urged the government to accommodate people sleeping rough.

“The longer we wait to put accommodation and everything with it in place, the risk is we are creating ... a mini-humanitarian crisis,” said Peter Van Der Auweraert, IOM’s western Balkans coordinator. “It has to be done not in two months time but ... next week.”

Authorities in Sarajevo and the northwestern town of Bihac asked central government for help, saying they worried about health risks given the warmer weather and deteriorating public hygiene. The two cities are also tourism destinations. Non-governmental organizations and residents, some of whom became refugees themselves during Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, have helped migrants for months but now say they struggle to cope.

Government ministers on Monday pledged to move the migrants to alternative accommodation but warned Bosnia could be forced to close borders unless the migrants can continue their journeys to other EU countries.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-bosnia/bosnia-struggles-to-cope-with-arrival-of-thousands-of-migrants-idUSKCN1IG1LS

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Bosna se bori s dolaskom hiljada migranata
15. maj 2018.

SARAJEVO/BIHAĆ (Reuters) – Bosna se bori s dolaskom hiljada migranata i izbjeglica, mnogi od njih spavaju u parkovima Sarajeva i drugih gradova dok pokušavaju pronaći prolaz u zapadnu Evropu. Azilantski centar ove zemlje ima 200 kreveta, dok 80-150 ljudi dolazi svaki dan tokom ovog mjeseca, rekao je ministar sigurnosti BiH, gospodin Dragan Mektić ovog ponedjeljka. Oko 4000 ljudi iz Sirije, Iraka, Turske, Alžira i Afganistana su ušli u Bosnu ove godine, u usporedbi s 755 ljudi 2015. Oko 1500 migranata je trenutno zaglavljeno u BiH, dok se mnogi suočavaju s opasnim putovanjima.

“Vraćen sam iz Hrvatske 6 puta”, rekao nam je Omar iz Iraka, koji je došao u Bosnu s mlađim bratom, nakon što su proveli 2 godine u Grčkoj. Omar je odbio reći nam svoje prezime. “Moram se domoći Njemačke, jer mi je tamo sva porodica” rekao je 19-godišnjak, što se poklapa s riječima mnogih drugih s kojima smo pričali u staroj i praznoj zgradi u Bihaću, gradu u blizini hrvatske granice, gdje odsjedaju.  

Više od million migranata je došlo u Evropu 2015. Takozvana Balkanska ruta koja je preko Turske, Grčke, Makedonije i Srbije išla prema zapadnoj Evropi tokom 2016. je zatvorena kada se Turska složila zaustaviti priliv u zamjenu za pomoć koju je osigurala EU i obećanje da će Turska dobiti bezvizni režim s EU. Ali od ove jeseni, nakon uspostavljanja striktnijih kontrola na granicama između Srbije, Mađarske i Hrvatske, krijumčari su kreirali novu rutu iz Grčke preko Albanije, Crne Gore te Bosne i Hercegovine u Hrvatsku i dalje zapadnu Evropu.

Migranti koji su zaglavljeni u Srbiji od 2016. također prelaze u Bosnu u većim brojevima, s njima i veliki broj Iranaca koji koriste bezvizni režim koji su Srbija i Iran uvele prošle godine. Dok Međunarodna organizacija za migracije (IOM) očekuje da će se dolasci nastaviti u prosjeku 350-400 sedmično, Adnan Tatarević iz Pomozi.ba, nevladine organizacije iz Sarajeva koja pomaže migrantima od januara, kaže da su brojevi i veći od toga. “Očekujemo oko 50,000 dolazaka do kraja godine”, izjavio je Tatarević za Reuters. Međunarodne grupe koje pomažu migrantima su pozvale vlasti da nađu smještaj ljudima koji spavaju vani.   

“Što duže čekamo da uspostavimo dodatni smještaj i sve što ide s njim, postoji rizik da ćemo stvortiti…mini humanitarnu krizu”, rekao je Peter Van der Auweraert, Koordinator IOM-a za zapadni Balkan. “Ovo se mora završiti ne za dva mjeseca, nego…iduće sedmice” dodao je.

Vlasti u Sarajevu i sjevero-zapadnom gradu Bihaću su zatražile pomoć od centralne vlade, tvrdeći da brinu o zdravstvenim rizicima koje donosi toplo vrijeme i sve slabije prilike u javnoj higijeni. Ova dva grada su također turističke destinacije. Nevladine organizacije i građani, od kojih su mnogi i sami bili izbjeglice tokom rata u Bosni 1992.-1995. pomažu migrantima već mjesecima, ali sada kažu da su pri kraju snaga.

Ministri centralne vlade su u ponedjeljak došli do rješenja da premjeste migrante u alternativni smještaj, izdajući upozorenje da će Bosna biti prisiljena zatvoriti granice ukoliko migrantima ne bude omogućeno da nastave svoj put prema EU zemljama.

Izvor: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-bosnia/bosnia-struggles-to-cope-with-arrival-of-thousands-of-migrants-idUSKCN1IG1LS