More than 9,000 migrants have entered Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) since the beginning of this year, the country’s security minister Dragan Mektic revealed on Wednesday.
At a press conference, Mektic said that currently some 3,000 migrants reside on BiH territory, which amounts to some 30.0 percent, and that the rest used BiH as a transit country en route to the European Union (EU) countries.
“We have been focusing of two key components, one is protection and securing of the country’s border and minimization of the number of migrants entering BiH. The second one is the humanitarian aspect of the crises in terms that migrants who enter will have an adequate treatment under the international law and conventions that BiH ratified,” Mektic explained.
He highlighted that BiH authorities are in control of the process of migrants on the territory of BiH.
Mektic said that 8.227 migrants expressed their intention to apply for asylum and only 691 migrants actually applied, adding that his ministry did not approve any asylum due to the fact that migrants do not appear in the asylum procedure, or they are not at the address which they stated.
When it comes to migrants that pose a possible threat to BiH, Mektic said that there are some 30 illegal migrants situated in the Immigration center in the capital Sarajevo, were they are detained and on whom the authorities are doing checks.
With current accommodation facilities in the capital Sarajevo and Mostar, some 130 kilometers southwest of the capital, the four additional ones to be opened in the northern BiH, Mektic believes them enough to accommodate the current number of migrants.
The minister stressed the need to protect BiH border and announced that he will ask from BiH government to change the law and send an army on the border with the most migration pressure because 1.148 illegal migrants entered BiH in the period from July 6-19 this year.
Minister explained that there are two routes which migrants use. By the first route, migrants come from Greece, over Albania, Montenegro and enter BiH. The other route is from Turkey, over Bulgaria, Serbia and BiH.
For the end of the press conference, Mektic said that the EU promised 8, 5 million Euros to BiH in order to handle the migrants crisis.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants passed through the so-called “Balkan route” in 2015, trying to reach Western Europe. BiH was then not part of that route.
However, migrants have turned to BiH in recent months, trying to avoid more heavily-guarded routes and borders in the Balkans.
(Source: Sarajevo Times, Xinhua)