Archive photo: Migrant men walk in the yard of the Temporary Reception Center Bira migrant shelter in Bihac, northwestern Bosnia, 12 December 2019 | Photo: EPA/Zoltan Balogh
Archive photo: Migrant men walk in the yard of the Temporary Reception Center Bira migrant shelter in Bihac, northwestern Bosnia, 12 December 2019 | Photo: EPA/Zoltan Balogh

Bosnian authorities on April 22 inaugurated a new hosting center for migrants that can accommodate up to 1,000 people. The facility will be managed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the village of Lipa, near Bihac, at the border with Croatia.

A new hosting center for refugees and migrants that can accommodate up to 1,000 people was inaugurated on April 22 in the village of Lipa, close to Bihac, in northwestern Bosnia-Herzegovina near the border with Croatia. The center will be managed by the International Organization for Migrants (IOM).

Police have already brought a number of migrants to the facility among those -- an estimated 1,500 people -- who are sleeping rough or living in abandoned homes in the area of Bihac. 

A reported 100 people will be transferred every day to the facility, where doctors will give them a medical checkup, including a coronavirus test. Authorities said the transfer of migrants will for this reason progress slowly and that it will be completed in a few days. 

Government is working on repatriation program 

The center is meant to provide stable accommodation to migrants who want to eventually travel to a European Union member State. 

Bosnian Security Minister Fahrudin Radoncic, however, is critical and wants to start a program to repatriate the migrants to their home countries. "Many thought that it was a humanitarian issue but they have finally understood that it is a matter of security and that this country is not able to sustain 7-8,000 migrants'', the minister said. 

He added that he was not speaking about people fleeing war but about undocumented migrants who come from countries that are richer than Bosnia. 

Lipa residents against center 

Representatives of the 250 Serbian residents of the village of Lipa have said that they are against the center. They want to return to the homes they had prior to the war (1992-95) and have complained that migrants have electricity, running water and Wi-Fi at the center while they are still waiting for these municipal services. 

Lipa's Serbians have already announced that they will organize protests once restrictions on gatherings due to the coronavirus emergency are lifted. 
 

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