“RiVolti ai Balcani” requests the immediate and urgent intervention of European, international and local institutions in the Bihać area, and a long-term solution ensuring the protection of the fundamental human rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.
“As a citizen of Bosnia Herzegovina I feel the right to insist and obtain from all political representatives at all levels the immediate assistance to and acceptable accommodation for all migrating people. And I also ask the international community that still has a protectorate in Bosnia Herzegovina to take responsibility for this situation. The crime against humanity that is taking place must stop immediately. People continue to freeze on the roads and in the mountains and the question is when will they start to die. Many citizens are helping individually as best they can, but in order to stop this catastrophe, a specific solution respecting the dignity and human rights of these people is necessary. Those who operate in public, local and international institutions, are responsible for this catastrophe. I do not want and do not accept that Bosnia Herzegovina could once again become a valley of mass graves, synonym of crimes, death and injustice”.
“RiVolti ai Balcani” collects and shares the appeals coming from individual citizens, activists and Bosnian volunteers, as well as from the regional network ‘Transbalkanska Solidarnost’, aimed at stopping the humanitarian catastrophe that is taking place especially in the Una Sana Canton where 3000 migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, are having to camp outdoors. Of these, 1500 in the temporary camp of Lipa, 30 km from Bihać, for whom neither local nor international authorities have wanted to find a solution.
For months now a growing number of international organisations, associations and volunteers have been denouncing the unsustainable living conditions of these people arriving from the Balkan migration route. First and foremost, the Lipa makeshift camp, not kitted out for the winter months, where water was delivered from a cistern and little energy was produced by generators. Like other transit camps in Bosnia managed by the Organization for Migration (IOM) BiH, but the construction or adjustment of which is headed by the Bosnian authorities.
Despite appeals by the Commissioner for human rights of the Council of Europe and UNHCR and the subsequent – useless – attempt by the Bosnian Council of Ministries to convince the Cantonal authorities to create suitable structures for the reception of migrants, IOM decided to close the camp and on 23rd December – the day foreseen for IOM’s exit – the camp was nearly totally destroyed by a fire.
It is snowing and the temperature has fallen below 0°C. Hundreds of people are blocked here, with one single meal a day distributed by the local Red Cross, other hundreds are scattered in the woods without assistance.
“RiVolti ai Balcani” adds its name to other public appeals announced in recent days. The one of 26th December, signed by UNHCR and IOM, together with DRC – Danish Refugee Council and Save the Children that work in BiH, in which local authorities are asked to provide immediate alternative accommodation solutions and the four organisations reiterate their availability to support the efforts of the local authorities and to organize necessary assistance. But also the appeal of the volunteers and activists of ‘No Name Kitchen’, ‘SOS Balkanroute’, Medical Volunteers International and ‘Blindspots’ addressed to the EU and its Member States.
The network “RiVolti ai Balcani” – composed of over 36 entities and individuals involved in the protection of human rights and the fundamental principles of the Italian Constitution and European and international norms – request that the European Union, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the EU delegation to the High Representative in Bosnia Herzegovina, the International Organization for Migration, the Council of Ministries of Bosnia Herzegovina, the authorities of the Una Sana Canton and the Bihać Municipality, the authorities of the country’s two Entities – the Federation and Republika Srpska:
- find an immediate solution to the current humanitarian emergency in the Bihać area and Bosnia Herzegovina in general;
- define long-term solutions equipping Bosnia Herzegovina with and effective refugee reception and protection system;
- enact a humanitarian evacuation programme aimed at placing the migrants in all the countries of the European Union.
Sign the petition ‘This inhuman chess game must stop!’ at 𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲.𝗼𝗿𝗴: http://chng.it/jNmwZ78pV2