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EU slams Bosnia over ‘unacceptable’ conditions for migrants, provides extra €3.5 million humanitarian aid

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The European Union on Sunday announced an additional €3.5 million in humanitarian aid to migrants and refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina, slamming local authorities for the “unacceptable” living conditions. 

In late December, a fire destroyed the Lima camp near the northwestern town of Bihac, leaving thousands in dire need of shelter. Attempts to relocate them to a former army barracks in the central town of Konjic were impeded by protests from the town’s residents, with refugees and migrants ending up to the empty camp. 

Similar is the situation in the Una Sana camp, where more than 1,700 refugees and migrants remain without appropriate shelter and support, while a further 800 refugees and migrants are staying outdoors in harsh winter conditions, including children.

“The situation in Una Sana canton is unacceptable,” the bloc’s top diplomat, Borrell said, calling for a temporary solution until Lipa camp is rebuilt into a permanent facility, as well as for longterm solutions in the country to address the humanitarian disaster. He also slammed local authorities which had the duty to ensure “humane” living conditions, such as winter-proof accommodations.

His words were echoed by the Crisis Commissioner, Janez Lenarcic, who kept a hardline stance towards Bosnia and Herzegovina for the lack of preparedness, for the refusal to open additional reception facilities, and mostly for the closure of the already existing ones. He added that the EU will provide additional emergency assistance by distributing food, blankets, warm clothes and continue to support unaccompanied minors.

“Humanitarian assistance would not be required in Bosnia and Herzegovina, if the country implemented appropriate migration management, as requested by the EU for many years,” Lenarcic said. 

The extra aid comes on top of €4.5 million allocated in April 2020, bringing EU humanitarian assistance for refugees and migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina to €13.8 million since 2018.

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