Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
These are the shocking conditions inside a migrant camp in Bosnia as the winter freeze sets in and officials now fear that people will start dying unless it is closed down.
The images – which include some people seen walking in flip flops amid the icy temperatures – were taken at the Vucjak camp in Bosnia and Herzegovina as European human rights officials are demanding the immediate closure of the camp.
Photos show migrants wrapped in blankets and standing in flimsy sandals in the snow.
The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina and visited the makeshift migrant camp, saying: “If this camp is not closed today, tomorrow people will start dying. Whose responsibility will be then is the question I ask everyone?”
She then added: “This is not a place for human beings.”
Mud and rubbish are reportedly everywhere in the camp and there is no running water.
Due to these conditions, migrants blocked the entrance to the camp several times today and refused food from the Red Cross in protest.
Dunja Mijatovic, who is Bosnian, stated: “I am really ashamed that something like this exists in my country.”
Selam Midzic representative of the Red Cross stated: “This is the first rebellion of migrants against the conditions they currently live in. “
Some tents have collapsed under the weight of wet snow as migrants tried to clear those still standing.
One of the migrants, who was not named, told reporters: “I’m not cold because I’m an animal, I’m not human. It’s all here as a place for animals like we’re all animals,”
The Red Cross told local media that they had prepared 600 meals yesterday, as they did the day before, but that there are far fewer migrants now. A large number of them headed to the border during the night or returned to the centre of Bihac seeking better accommodation, according to reports.
International aid organisations have repeatedly warned about the conditions in the camp mainly because it is unfit for migrants and it is located on a former landfill site close to a minefield from the 1992-95 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bosnian authorities have struggled to accommodate thousands of people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Government officials have said that a new facility for migrants near Sarajevo will not be ready for another 20 days.
Migrants often go into Bosnia from neighbouring Serbia or Montenegro. Most of them have gone to the northwestern corner of the Balkan country which borders European Union member state Croatia, in hopes to cross the Croatian border and move on toward Western Europe.
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