Bosnia and Herzegovina lie on the Balkan Route. Since the closure of the Balkan corridor in 2016, the European Union closed most of the possibilities to reach its territory. Croatian police implements one of the harshest policies of the EU border regime. Since 2016 it has been pushing people back by force. Hungary closed its borders by building tall wired walls and refusing the right for asylum. Slovenia pushes back people regularly and is building more wired fences. Serbia became a hot spot hosting from 6 to 10 thousand refugees yearly, gradually institutionalizing its capacities, introducing asylum policy, providing collective accommodation, and basic needs services. Crossing the border from Serbia to Croatia became almost impossible and extremely violent due to the Croatian police’s systematic push backs. From autumn 2017 and spring 2018, people on the move had chosen another route, via Bosnia.
The EU confirmed Croatia’s entry into the Schengen zone, and it is just a matter of time.
Bosnia has been recovering very slowly since the war from 1992 to 1995. It is a very fragile country from the social, economic, and political aspects; a considerable number of Bosnians (approximately 2 to 4 million) left the country after the war and are still going out.
Regardless of their economically difficult position, Bosnian inhabitants are helping refugees with what they have, giving them shelters, medical assistance, food, and heating.
But the situation is getting worse; Croatian police are brutally violent, Slovenian police extensively carry out collective expulsions, both are the member states of the EU. More and more refugees find themselves in a devastating set of circumstances
Since the beginning of 2018, about 50 thousand people have come, and only 6% were able to process asylum applications in Bosnia. In June 2018, the European Union decided to help the country; it appointed the IOM as the leader in managing migrations in Bosnia and approved more than 30 million euros for that purpose.
It’s been two years since, but the living conditions, access to asylum, or any other rights stay in a deficient level, and the situation looks like the humanitarian catastrophe.
The state runs two centers; asylum center Delijas near Sarajevo and closed immigration center in Lukavica.
IOM runs Salakovac camp near Mostar, Usivaj and Blazu camps in Sarajevo, Bira, Sedra and Borici camps in Bihać, and Miral in Velika Kladuša.
In Tuzla, there are few centers run by locals, one by the charity organization Pomozi.ba and another one by local volunteers.
In Sarajevo, local business owner and international volunteers are running House of All, and it is an accommodation for refugee families.
In Doboj, organization Emmaus runs a center Duje, which accommodates refugees and migrants, too. It is of a close type. All camps are open, but Duje (not official camp).