Oyku Cicek Butun Staff reporter, The Pawprint
The Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic,visited Vucjak in Bosnia and said the migrants’s living conditions were “inhumane and unacceptable” for people to be “amassed in the mud” without running water or adequate sanitation.
“The living conditions of hundreds of human beings in the improvised Vucjak camp are shameful. That camp should have never been opened in the first place,” he added
The local mayor’s advisor claimed that they knew the problem in the area yet it is unfair to expect such quantities of migrant support from such a small area. “In the beginning, local people had empathy and understanding for migrant issues. But there have been problems with behavior – and the [non-functioning] state government. We feel that our government has abandoned us.”
Migrants in the area who are in a reception center have no choice but to stay for the winter as the weather is too hazardous to move.
As the December winter arrives, migrants currently in Bosnia with the desire to pass through Croatia and the European Union are in real danger. As the temperature hits below zero, the migrants’ living conditions continuously worsen.
Bedraggled young men trudge disconsolately along the main road outside Bira, a reception centre run by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the north-western city of Bihac, some with bed rolls tucked under their arms.
These migrants have been unfortunate enough to be turned away, because the former refrigerator factory is full to its 2,000 capacity. Inside the area are hot meals, basic accommodation, washing facilities and medical care.
Camp manager Amira Hadzimehmedovic finds turning people away distressing. “It makes you feel terrible, to say: ‘Sorry, I can’t help you’ while it’s cold is a terrible thing to do.” Additionally she stated,”The local government banned new arrivals at Bira. Some 2,000 people are squatting outside without proper protection.”
Hundreds of those have been staying in tents at Vucjak, a camp on a former landfill site, close to Bosnia’s border with Croatia.
Many who are at a reception center are planning to stay put through winter to soon pass into the European Union.