Some 12,000 migrants have entered Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) since the beginning of this year until Aug. 29, the country’s Chairman of the Council of Ministers Denis Zvizdic revealed at the press conference on Wednesday.
“11,191 migrants sought for an asylum and only 835 has actually applied for it,” Zvizdic added.
At a state-level session, it was agreed that the competent authorities will continue in protecting the BiH border. Additionally, coordination teams will direct the activities related to migrants in a “humane and dignified manner”, under the international and country’s law.
“Currently, additional 300 police officers have been engaged in the protection of BiH border,” Zvizdic added.
Zvizdic said that one of the measures in the previously agreed Action Plan involves strengthening of asylum center capacities and that barrack “Usivak” near the capital Sarajevo is currently being renovated with 1.5 million Euros and will be finished in 2 to 3 weeks, accommodating some 500 persons.
Also, after renovation, the Hotel “Sedra” in Cazin, a city located some 330 kilometers northwest of Sarajevo, will accommodate 400 persons, mainly children without parents and families.
Two more asylum centers will be operational in the northern BiH, namely “Borici”, which will have capacity for 700 persons and Agrokomerc as a temporary reception center. “In the last month, trend of decrease in a number of migrants entering BiH is evident,” Zvizdic said, adding that when the daily and monthly number of entrances is taken into consideration, there are more migrants exiting BiH than ones who are entering,” Zvizdic said.
Out of the total, the highest number of migrants comes from Pakistan, Syria, Afghanistan, followed by migrants originating from Iraq, Iran and other countries. In 99 percent of cases, migrants do not have any identification documents, seeking an asylum and an international protection when arriving to BiH. They do not intend to stay in BiH, and use it as a transit area en route to the European Union members.
Currently, there are some 3,000 migrants residing on the territory of BiH out of which the majority are economic migrants.
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.