On 14 June authorities in Una Sana Canton began the relocation of migrants and refugees from Bihac to Vucjak. According to the UN Country Team in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) the conditions in Vucjak are posing “significant health and safety risks” to those relocated.

The NGO Are You Syrious quote local volunteers confirming that following food distributions on the evening of 14 June police took “all the people — except one group — to the Vučjak area”, a small town around 10 km from the main centre “in the middle of nowhere” where the ground was still being flattened.

The relocation of migrants and refugees residing outside of the overcrowded official reception centres to Vucjak raises serious concern from the UN Country Team working with partners on the ground to support authorities: “’Vucjak’ poses very significant health and safety risks and is currently not equipped to accommodate migrants and refugees in accordance with international standards. The site is located very close to landmine infected areas. There is also a high fire and explosion hazard due to the possible presence of methane gas underground, as the site was a former landfill”. Further, the UN underlines the lack of sanitary facilities, running water and electricity on the site, concluding: “Under these circumstances, locating migrants and refugees there is not acceptable”.

The UN Inter Agency Operational Update reveals an increase of unaccompanied and separated children in the Una Sana Canton and estimates that there are 6,000 – 6,500 refugees and migrants in BiH as of 30 April 2019 with a maximum available accommodation capacity of 4,294.

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Photo: Solidarnost BiH, Migranti BiH, Udruzenje Solidarnost BiH, June 2019

This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin . You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.