Rights Official Urges Bosnia to Do More for Migrants

Date Publish: 
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Rights Official Urges Bosnia to Do More for Migrants

By The Associated Press
May 15, 2018

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Bosnia must do more to help migrants, a European human rights official said Tuesday as the war-scarred country struggles to cope with a growing influx of people trying to reach Western Europe through the Balkans.

Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed concern in a letter to Bosnian authorities over "lack of systematic response" to the situation, with migrants sleeping outdoors in Bosnia's streets and parks. "I am concerned to learn that many refugees and migrants, including families with children, sleep rough on the streets and have irregular access to food," Mijatovic wrote. "This situation cannot continue in this way."

Migrants have turned to Bosnia in recent months, trying to avoid more heavily guarded routes and borders in the Balkans. From Bosnia, migrants seek to enter EU-member Croatia in the northwest, and move on toward Western Europe.

Dozens of people have been camping in central Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital, setting up a small tent settlement. Sarajevo citizens, who suffered under siege during Bosnia's 1992-95 war, have been bringing food and clothes to help. Bosnia's Council of Ministers, the country's government, is set later Tuesday to adopt more measures on providing housing, food and medical care for the migrants. Officials have warned that the influx could strain Bosnia's already weak economy.

"Where can we get the money, where?" Interior Minister Dragan Mektic said on the state TV, urging help from the European Union and other Balkan countries in controlling the influx. "The route is growing and we could face a crisis."

Hundreds of thousands of migrants entered Europe through the Balkans in 2015 before countries in the region closed their borders. EU member Hungary set up barbed-wire fences on its southern border with Serbia to stop the influx of migrants. Migrants first arrive in Greece across the sea from Turkey, then move on toward Albania and Montenegro and then on to Bosnia, before proceeding to Croatia and Slovenia. Previously they more used to go from Greece to Macedonia and Serbia, and then on to Croatia or Hungary.

In the northwestern Bosnian town of Bihac, some 200-250 people, including families with children, have been staying in an abandoned former students' home that was ruined during the war.

Peter Van Der Auweraert, the representative in Bosnia of the International Organization for Migration, said local authorities and aid groups have provided food, basic medical aid, water and containers with showers.

"It is a big challenge to accommodate people in a building that is obviously abandoned, but compared to Sarajevo where people are sleeping in the streets, it is obviously a better solution," he said, adding that he expected in influx of migrants to continue.

During lunch time, a windowless concrete hall that once hosted students welcomed dozens of migrants for a warm meal. Among them was Ibrahim from Syria, who said he had tried to cross into Croatia with his fellow migrants but police there beat them, broke their mobile phone and tore away their money.

"We are human, not animals," Ibrahim said.

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Borci za ljudska prava urgiraju da BiH poduzme više za migrante

The Associated Press
15. maj 2018.

SARAJEVO, Bosna i Hercegovina — Bosna i Hercegovina mora učiniti više da pomogne migrantima, rekao je Evropski službenik za ljudska prava u utorak, dok se ratom izranjavana zemlja bori da izađe na kraj s prilivom ljudi koji se pokušavaju domoći zapadne Evrope preko Balkana.

U pismu koje je poslala vlastima u BiH, Dunja Mijatović, Komesar Vijeća Evrope za ljudska prava, je izrazila zabrinutost oko “nedostatka sistematskog odgovora” na situaciju u kojoj migranti spavaju pod otvorenim nebom u bosanskim ulicama i parkovima. “Zabrinuta sam jer sam saznala da mnoge izbjeglice i migranti, uključujući porodice s djecom, spavaju vani na ulicama i nemaju regularan pristup hrani”, napisala je Mijatović. “Ova situacija se ne može nastaviti na ovaj način”.

Migranti su skrenuli prema Bosni i Hercegovini posljednjih mjeseci, pokušavajući da izbjegnu striktno čuvane rute i granice na Balkanu. Preko Bosne, migranti putem sjevero-zapadnog pravca pokušavaju ući u Hrvatsku, koja je članica Evropske Unije, te nastaviti dalje prema zemljama Zapadne Evrope.

Deseci ljudi kampuju u centru Sarajeva, glavnog grada Bosne i Hercegovine, u malim šatorima. Građani Sarajeva, koji su patili pod opsadom tokom rata 1992.-1995., donose hranu i odjeću u pokušaju da pomognu. Vijeće ministara Bosne i Hercegovine, ili bosanska vlada bi trebala kasno u utorak usvojiti mjere koje će osigurati smještaj, hranu i medicinsku brigu za migrante. Službenici raznih organizacija su upozorili da trenutni priliv može donijeti pritisak na ionako slabu ekonomiju ove zemlje.

“Gdje možemo naći novac, gdje?”, izjavio je Ministar sigurnosti, gospodin Dragan Mektić na nacionalnom TV kanalu, u pokušaju da požuri dostavu pomoći iz Evropske Unije i drugih balkanskih zemalja koje kontrolišu priliv migranata. “Ova ruta raste i možemo se naći u krizi”.

Stotine hiljada migranata su ušli u Evropu kroz Balkan 2015., prije nego su regionalne zemlje zatvorile svoje granice. Članica EU - Mađarska je postavila žičane ograde na svojoj južnoj granici sa Srbijom u pokušaju da zaustavi priliv migranata. Migranti prvo dolaze u Grčku morem iz Turske, onda idu dalje prema Albaniji i Crnoj Gori prema Bosni i Hercegovini, prije nego što nastave prema Hrvatskoj i Sloveniji. Prije su se više kretali prema Makedoniji i Srbiji, te onda prema Hrvatskoj i Mađarskoj.

U Bihaću, gradu na sjevero-zapadu Bosne i Hercegovine, nekih 200-250 ljudi, uključujući i porodice s djecom su smješteni u napuštenim studentskim domovima koji su uništeni tokom rata.

Peter Van Der Auweraert, Predstavnik Međunarodne organizacije za migracije (IOM) u Bosni Hercegovini, je izjavio da su lokalne vlasti i grupe koje pomažu osigurale hranu, osnovnu medicinsku zaštitu, vodu i tuš kabine.

“Veliki je izazov smjestiti ljude u napuštenu zgradu, ali u usporedbi sa Sarajevom, gdje ljudi spavaju na ulicama, to je očito bolje rješenje”, rekao je dodajući da očekuje da će se priliv migranata nastaviti.

Tokom ručka, betonska sala bez prozora, koja je nekad udomljavala studente je priredila dobrodošlicu migrantima s toplim obrokom. Među njima je Ibrahim iz Sirije, koji kaže da je pokušavao preći u Hrvatsku sa svojim drugovima, ali da ih policija tamo tuče, uzima i uništava mobitele, te čupa novac.

“Mi smo ljudi, ne životinje”, kaže Ibrahim.