ZAGREB, May 13, 2019 – The authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina have to urgently deal with the extent of the migrant crisis and undertake measures to control it because the situation in Una-Sana Canton, where the most migrants are located, has become unbearable, the canton’s prime minister, Mustafa Ružnić, warned on Monday. The canton is located on the border with Croatia.
Participating at a meeting of the House of Representatives of the Federation entity, Ružnić said that there are about 5,000 illegal migrants currently located in that canton, yet there is accommodation for only about 3,200 in reception centres in Bihać, Velika Kladuša and Cazin.
Last year 19,200 migrants from 46 countries passed through the canton and twelve check points have been established due to the extraordinary circumstances that are constantly manned by police in order to control the influx of migrants, and the police is barely managing to do so.
In an attempt to reduce the pressure on the border with Croatia, the police in that part of Bosnia have returned 3,330 migrants since the start of 2019.
According to Bosnia’s security agencies, more than 6,000 illegal migrants have entered the country so far this year, which is twice as much compared to the same period last year.
There are only two inspectors working with migrants in Una-Sana Canton and state and entity authorities have not taken any responsibility, and it turns out that the state simply does not have any strategy to manage the migrant crisis, Ružnić said.
He added that at this pace, Bosnia and the entire region will need to deal with the problem of illegal migrants in these numbers for the next ten years, and that it is necessary as soon as possible to undertake measures to control that problem.
The Una-Sana Canton’s minister of health, Nermina Ćemalović, warned that the health system in the canton is under huge pressure and that the hygienic-epidemiological situation “is out of control.”
During 2018, more than 30,000 migrants were treated which cost the canton’s health budget more than 2 million euro.
She confirmed that about 90 HIV positive cases had been identified among migrants located in Bihać and that there were “silent epidemics” such as TBC which no one wants to admit publicly. “Health inspections in migrant reception centres have determined a horrific situation,” she said.
She warned that the security situation in Bihać has become unbearable, with frequent break-ins, attacks and theft. “Bihać is occupied by migrants, 80% of them are illegal migrants,” she said.
Bihać Mayor Suhret Fazlić complained that the Croatian police were returning migrants across the border in contradiction to extradition procedures. “I saw Croatian special police enter Bosnian territory armed with rifles. I saw that and I warned them about that,” said Fazlić.
More news about the migrant crisis can be found in the Politics section.