BiH Presidency fail to reach agreement regarding the migrant crisis

BiH Presidency fail to reach agreement regarding the migrant crisis

The Bosnia and Herzegovina tripartite Presidency failed on Tuesday to agree on a possible solution for the issue of the illegal migrations.

Thousands of migrants from the Middle East are trying to reach the EU countries through BiH, as other countries closed their borders. The “Bosnian route” was opened in 2018 and the country has received more than 25 thousand illegal migrants last year alone. The majority of them left the country and crossed the border into Croatia, but still a large number of migrants remained and tried to find shelter in some of the camps in Western BiH, near the cities of Bihać, Cazin and Velika Kladuša. It is interesting that Republika Srpska, the entity in BiH with a Serb majority, decided not to accept any migrants. Instead of establishing an Immigration Centre, they decided to transport them to some already opened by the Federation BiH. However, the fact remains that almost all of the illegal migrants are coming to BiH through the Serbian- BiH border, which is entirely in the territory of Republika Srpska.

This year, the country has recorded the increase in the number of migrants and problems have arisen. It is not only the problem of accommodation, food, medical protection and education for kids, but there is also the question of security. In a large number of cases, migrants were involved in incidents with BiH citizens or amongst themselves. The recent fight between several groups, which included more than 100 people, triggered the question of security in the country. This was the reason that Croatian member of the BiH Presidency, Željko Komšić, demanded an urgent session. On Monday, Presidency Chairman, Milorad Dodik (Serb), confirmed that he scheduled the session for Tuesday but does not expect any proper results, as Komšić had suggested the deployment of BiH Armed Forces to the border with Serbia.

“Nobody will deploy the Army between Serbia and Republika Srpska and BiH. I will never let that happen,” said Dodik to the media in Banja Luka.

He also added that he would never give consent to FRONTEX officers to patrol along with BiH Border Police.

After the Presidency session on Tuesday, Dodik said that he had rejected a request to deploy Armed Forces.

“I cannot accept a deployment of the military to the borders with Serbia and Montenegro,” Dodik said, and added that neither does he support a decision on the deployment of FRONTEX, saying it would only create an even “firmer” border towards Croatia.

According to him, it would be a masochistic decision that would only deepen the crisis.

“I was outvoted with respect to FRONTEX and according to the procedure, the issue will be reiterated in the regular sessions,” explained Dodik.

Presidency member Šefik Džaferović (Bosniak), said he asked that the whole country shares the burden of migrant crisis equally but that his proposal was dismissed.

“My stances regarding the migrant crisis includes that Bosnia and Herzegovina must protect its border from illegal migrants’ entrance through state agencies. Second, the burden must be shared by the entire Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is not fair that the burden is taken by two or three cantons with special emphasis on the Una-Sana Canton,” said Džaferović, adding that Dodik objected the idea.

The crisis, according to estimations, will escalate in the next months but the state is still stuck in the arguments of its top officials. The truth is that in the past BiH was also inert and failed to solve the migrant issue a long time ago. The discussions and political blockades will not help this situation./ibna