Bosnia to close makeshift migrant camp on Croatia’s border

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Bosnian officials said yesterday they will close a makeshift tent camp in the northwest of the country 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 organisations 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 yesterday demanded the immediate closure of the camp. “The living conditions of hundreds of human beings in the improvised Vucjak camp are shameful,” Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights said after visiting the camp earlier this week. “That camp should have never been opened in the first place.’’

She said at a news conference in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, that it is now urgent to relocate the migrants and provide them with “decent accommodation.”

“Many people lack adequate clothing and footwear,’’ she said.

“It is inhumane and unacceptable to keep people in such conditions.’’

Bosnian authorities have struggled to accommodate thousands of people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Migrants come into Bosnia from neighbouring Serbia or Montenegro. Most have flocked to the northwestern corner of the Balkan country because it borders European Union member state Croatia.

Bosnian police moves through the Vucjak refugee camp outside Bihac, northwestern Bosnia. PHOTO: AP