Brussels (Brussels Morning) The EU Commission earmarks additional 3.5 million euro in aid for migrants and refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to a press release from Sunday.
The Commission notes that migrants and refugees there are facing a humanitarian crisis, with more than 1,700 without appropriate shelter in the westernmost Una-Sana Canton.
The Lipa reception centre that housed migrants largely from Pakistan and Afghanistan was burned down last month, leaving hundreds of migrants without shelter in harsh winter conditions.
In December, the Commission stressed the importance of reopening the temporary reception centre Bira, which has adequate heating and can accommodate 1,500. It reminded the EU provided and pledged funding to help migrants and refugees, and called on national and local authorities to cooperate and “provide the shelter that these human beings deserve.”
Comments of EU officials
Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, stresses the current situation in the Una-Sana Canton is not acceptable. “Winter-proof accommodations are a pre-requisite for humane living conditions, which need to be ensured at all times,” he notes.
He calls on local authorities to house the migrants and refugees in existing facilities as a temporary measure until the Lipa can be rebuilt. “The EU’s humanitarian assistance will provide the people in distress with access to basic items as an immediate alleviation to their current plight,” Borrell observes and stresses the importance of finding long-term solutions.
Janez Lenarčič, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, points out the EU will provide additional assistance and continue to support unaccompanied minors. “Humanitarian assistance would not be required in Bosnia and Herzegovina, if the country implemented appropriate migration management, as requested by the EU for many years,” he concludes.
EU’s latest aid comes on top of the 4.5 million euro provided in April last year and brings the bloc’s total humanitarian assistance for migrants and refugees in BiH since 2018 to 13.8 million.