Increased number of migrants and asylum seekers (N1)

Date Publish: 
Monday, March 26, 2018


The arrest of two males that occurred in Sarajevo and Foca several days ago is not a lonely case. Lack of police officers in Border Police of Bosnia and Herzegovina is just one in the line of problems. Bosnia and Herzegovina is facing many challenges, while international organizations are offering assistance. Border Police of Bosnia and Herzegovina is facing increasing challenges to cover vast territories with insufficient personnel. Their systematization is 10 years old now and does not correspond to present challenges. We were told that BiH lacks almost 600 police officers.

Old systematization, new problems. Human trafficking is becoming a frequent occurrence. According to the Border Police, 21 crimes of human trafficking and 7 crimes of “organization of the group or association for execution of the crimes of human trafficking” occurred last year. The data of the Ministry of Interior of Republic of Srpska also indicate the increase of mentioned crimes. 5 cases since the beginning of the year, 8 in 2017 in total. All clips in the chain can feel the challenges. With the increase of the number of migrants, the number of asylum seekers is also in the rise. Processing of one asylum request lasts for 4 months - the processes are mainly never brought to the end, according to the Ministry of Security. Administration is overwhelmed. “761 person expressed the intent for asylum, while 218 entered the registration process. We have a huge discrepancy between expressed intents and the number of submitted requests. These are the indicators of the abuse of asylum procedures,” says Mr. Marijan Baotic from Sector for Asylum in the Ministry of Security.

Nevertheless, the accommodation for the asylum seekers remains to be one of the main challenges. It is where international organisations are jumping in to help.

“IOM in BiH just received resources from our seat in Geneva to secure the accommodation for the asylum seekers who cannot be accommodated in the official institutions. It will also be used for providing direct assistance to vulnerable groups in need of psychosocial and medical assistance or clothing. These resources will be redirected towards the BiH Ministry of Security, but also to volunteers who are assisting migrants”, says Mr. Peter Van der Auweraert, IOM Representative in BiH and Sub-regional Coordinator for Western Balkans.

Migrants are also turning to UNHCR for assistance. “We are providing free legal and psychosocial assistance to these persons. We are assisting the coordination in providing accommodation to them. Present situation is quite challenging. They can also submit the request towards Sector for Asylum of The Ministry of Security from our premises”, said Mr. Neven Crvenkovic, UNHCR spokesperson. According to the information from Border Police, most migrants are coming from Syria. They are usually coming without documents, so the identification remains an additional challenge. Increase in migrant numbers have been recorded also in the past period. Until 18 March this year, 700 migrants have been recovered, while 750 were deterred from entering the country.