Brussels (Brussels Morning) The EU criticises Bosnia and Herzegovina over the lack of shelter it is providing to migrants, and points out how this jeopardises the country’s reputation, RFI reported yesterday.
Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, urges BiH to provide assistance to 1,700 migrants who have no shelter, and is urging the authorities to address the humanitarian issue.
In a telephone call with BiH Presidency Serb member Milorad Dodik, Borrell pointed out that BiH authorities need to take full responsibility for the situation, noting that migrants have been left without shelter for more than three weeks as weather conditions take a turn for the worse.
He said it was vital to find a long-term solution and that authorities should provide aid to the migrants immediately. Most of the migrants are from Afghanistan and Pakistan, stalled there as they seek to reach Western Europe.
Borrell reminded Dodik that the EU has been calling on BiH authorities to “provide basic and secure living conditions to all the persons of concern still sleeping out in the cold in extreme conditions.” He further reminded him that the EU had provided BiH with 88 million euro to help the migrants and that it was imperative that the country find a sustainable solution.
The migrant camp in the Una-Sana Canton near the border with EU member state Croatia burned down on 23 December. Members of the Armed Forces of BiH started relocating about half the migrants to tents with heating near the camp. Aid groups are supplying them with food, clothes and blankets.
The remaining half are located in a nearby forest as local authorities refuse to rebuild the camp and have rejected requests by the UN’s International Organisation for Migration to make use of an abandoned factory. The federal government is not pressing local authorities to address the issue.
Dodik refuses migrant camps in the Serb part of BiH, which means that all camps in the country are currently located in the Bosnian-Croat part.