Migrants and refugees receive food from humanitarian organization 'EMMAUS International' in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina | Photo: ANSA/EMMAUS
Migrants and refugees receive food from humanitarian organization 'EMMAUS International' in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina | Photo: ANSA/EMMAUS

The Bosnian government claims none of the local communities in the country agreed to the construction of new migrant centers in their territories.

In the entire country of Bosnia and Herzegovina, no local communities are willing to allow the construction of a new migrant reception center in their territory. That's what Dragan Mektic, the Bosnian minister for security, announced on October 23.

The Bosnian federal authorities would like to set up two large reception centers in the northwestern part of the country, with the help of the European Union. 

One of them was supposed to be built not far from Bosanski Petrovac in Republika Srpska (RS, a Serb-majority area of Bosnia). Bosnian Serb authorities, however, have said that they will not agree to migrant transfers from Bihac. 

Bihac region completely overwhelmed

There are currently four migrant reception centers in the Bihac canton. The region is a migrant hotspot because it's right on the border with Croatia. 

Authorities there say they are overwhelmed by the number of migrants in their region. They recently opened the Vucjak camp for the hundreds of migrants that cannot find space in facilities managed by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Local authorities cut off the water supply to the controversial camp this week to put pressure on the federal government to speed up transfers. 

International institutions have asked that the Vucjak center be closed immediately due to the poor conditions of the facilities. 

40,000 migrants arrived in Bosnia since 2018 

Since the beginning of 2018, Mektic said, over 40,000 migrants had entered the country without a visa through its borders with Montenegro and Serbia and gone to the Bihac canton, from  where they had continued their journey to Croatia and Western Europe. 

"Fewer than 5 percent of them," the minister said, "asked for asylum."
 

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