Lives of Hundreds of Migrants near Bihac are seriously jeopardised

Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative in BiH Ambassador Johann Sattler, together with the Austrian Ambassador Ulrike Hartmann, German Ambassador Margret Uebber and Italian Ambassador Nicola Minasi, met today with the BiH Minister of Security, Selmo Cikotić, to discuss urgent solutions for the extremely concerning migration situation in the Una-Sana Canton, especially in the Camp Lipa area.

Ambassador Sattler stated: “The situation is completely unacceptable. Lives and basic human rights of many hundreds of people are seriously jeopardised. Bosnia and Herzegovina is party to the international human rights instruments and needs to live up to its obligations, as an aspiring EU member.”

The deployment of the BiH Armed Forces that provided emergency tents to provisionally shelter migrants was a much needed step. However, the authorities must act urgently, in particular by ensuring water and electricity installations at the provisional camp site. Humane living conditions need be ensured at all times.

A longer-term solution is still required. Ambassadors urged the authorities to ensure a fully equipped camp at the original Lipa location as quickly as possible. Ambassadors flagged their respective financial contributions made available.

Ambassadors reiterated the need to uphold the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina by abiding by the Council of Ministers´ decision to re-open the Bira camp until Lipa is fully equipped to accommodate migrants. Additional emergency options would also need to be brought to the table.

Ambassadors also recognised that a sustainable solution would need to involve a more equal distribution of migrants across the country based on shared responsibility and ensuring dignified living conditions for the migrants on the one hand and the security of BiH citizens on the other.

The EU provides significant support, €85.5 million, to help BiH meet its humanitarian responsibilities and assist the migrants and refugees present in the country.”

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