İrem UZUN -TDO- Bosnian officials said Friday they will close a makeshift tent camp in the northwest region of the country called Bihac, where hundreds of migrants are stranded despite snow and freezing weather. Bosnia's security minister, Dragan Mektic, said the Vucjak camp on the border with Croatia will be closed early next week and the migrants will be relocated to other camps outside the region.
International aid organizations have repeatedly warned the camp is unfit for migrants because it is located on a former landfill and close to a mine field from the 1992-95 war. The camp has no running water or toilets, and conditions have worsened further after snow fell this week. Top European human rights official on Friday demanded the immediate closure of the camp. "If we don't close the camp today, tomorrow, people will start dying here", Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic told reporters while visiting the camp, a day after it began snowing in the area. "Whose responsibility would that be? That is the question I ask everyone," the Bosnia-born official added. Situated just across the border from EU member state Croatia, Bihac has become a key transit hub for migrants from the Middle East and Asia who are trying to reach Western Europe in recent years.
Close to 50,000 refugees and migrants have entered Bosnia since 2018. Many manage to make it into Western Europe and around 8,000 are currently in Bosnia, most of them in the Bihac area hoping to get into the EU. Therefore, camp's residents, who are eager to reach the European Union, say they do not want to be rehoused further away from the Croatian border, which lies just 8 km away.