ZAGREB, February 21, 2018 – Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Minister of Security Dragan Mektić said on Tuesday that the number of illegal migrants to that country is rapidly growing and in January alone about 400 migrants entered the country which is half the total number recorded in the entire last year.
“In 2016, there were fewer than 100 illegal migrants whereas last year there were about 800. What is concerning is that that number is rapidly increasing and in the first month and a half of this year, we have about 400 illegal migrants who entered Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Mektić told the media.
He said that authorities were trying to return illegal migrants back to the countries they had come from. The problem however, is that certain countries are not respecting readmission agreements and are rejecting to accept the migrants, Mektić claimed. He added that “efficient checks are not being conducted,” on new migrant routes between Greece, Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“They are turning their heads at these borders, knowing that the migrants will continue on their way,” Mektić said and added that human trafficking has been noticed.
He considers that the country’s problem lies in the fact that it lacks 400 to 500 border police officers and that additional funds are required to equip them. According to Mektić, Bosnia and Herzegovina has a “special responsibility” with regard to illegal migration as its border with the EU is 1,000 kilometres long.
On the other hand, representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migrations (IOM) on Tuesday ruled out recurrence of a migrant crisis similar to those in 2015.
Between 40,000 and 50,000 refugees from Afro-Asian countries are currently staying in the territory between Greece and the border with Croatia, trying to reach Western Europe, however, there are no signs that the migrant crisis of 2015 and 2016 could happen again with the same intensity that shook Europe, representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migrations (IOM) said in Sarajevo on Tuesday.