Bosnia’s central government said yesterday it would step up border controls to prevent a further influx of migrants and try to accommodate those already in Bosnia in the face of criticism that it is failing to adequately protect their rights, reported sources.
According to local officials, hundreds of men, women and children are sleeping in parks in the capital Sarajevo and in two towns in the western Bosnia bordering Croatia, a European Union member state, which they are trying to reach on their journey to Western Europe.
The officials said that in those cities have urged the central government to act, as the tourist season is heating up in Sarajevo and they lack the capacity to accommodate migrants.
Bosnia has emerged as an alternative route two years after the so-called Balkan route for migrants was closed. This Bosnia route starts from Turkey via Greece and Albania through Montenegro, as well as for migrants stuck in Serbia.
Police had detained more than 20 people earlier this week suspected of having smuggled up to 200 migrants into the EU. Hence, the central government in Sarajevo tasked the migration coordination body to take measures to prevent illegal transfer of migrants.
The authorities say that nearly 1,200 migrants mostly from Syria, Pakistan, Libya and Afghanistan have entered Bosnia since the beginning of 2018. The same number was almost intercepted at the border.
“Migrants who have entered Bosnia and Herzegovina will be adequately assisted and authorities are already trying to find new locations to accommodate them in a humane and dignified manner,” the government said in a statement.
The authorities sounded concern over the situation and warned that impoverished Bosnia cannot cope with a steep increase in the number of migrants expected with warmer weather. It has only one center for asylum seekers and another one for illegal migrants, both of which are full.