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Bosnia and Herzegovina: Mijatovic (Council of Europe), “shameful conditions in Vucjak camp. Provide migrants with decent accommodation”

(Strasbourg) “The living conditions of hundreds of human beings in the improvised Vučjak camp are shameful. That camp should have never been opened in the first place. It is now urgent to relocate these people and provide them with decent accommodation”, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, said today, at the end of a 4-day visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina. She told the press that the living conditions of many minors “have become even more inhumane now that temperatures have dropped below freezing” with people living “in the mud on a former landfill next to land-mined areas” with no running water and in dire sanitary and hygienic conditions. There are also migrants and asylum seekers sleeping rough or in abandoned buildings in Bihać and elsewhere in the country. Conditions in the reception centres in Bihać, Cazin and in the Sarajevo Canton are poor but better than in Vučjak. In Bira, some 1,800 people are living in a factory. “The state must ensure that there are adequate reception capacities” and should “provide more humanitarian assistance”. Since the identification system is “dysfunctional”, it is difficult to protect migrants, victims of trafficking, and unaccompanied children. The Commissioner also lamented the fact that the Republika Srpska has so far “refused to take responsibility” for the identification and reception of migrants. Reports of “violent push-backs” by Croatian law enforcement officials on the Croatian border are also a matter of “grave concern”.

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