Migrants stuck at the Bosnian-Croatian border

In an attempt to cross the Croatian border into Europe, many migrants have become stranded in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The facilities for migrants on the Bosnian side of the border are inadequate, and as the temperatures drop, their situation deteriorates.

As of October 2018, over 18,000 migrants are reported to have entered Bosnia and Herzegovina in the hope of reaching greater opportunities on European soil. The Migrant Project interviewed one of these migrants, a Kurdish woman named Galawezh.

In August 2018, 40-year-old Galawezh left her country. She explained the decision, saying “I had my job with good salary, I had no problems, I just wanted to go to Europe to have medications, and I have thyroid gland diseases.”

After travelling through Turkey and Greece, and failing to cross into Italy, she decided to travel to Serbia then Bosnia by foot. Together with several hundred other Kurdish migrants, she is now trapped at the northwestern Bosnian border city of Bihac, close to the Croatian border.

She is living in a makeshift camp, which she describes as “very poor”. “Now the weather is very cold and it snow all day long, we are about to freeze,” she said.

Describing the camp facilities, she explained that there were just a handful of toilets for several hundred migrants and that families were mixed in with single people. She also told The Migrant Project that the only available food was soup. Health services are also limited at the camp. “I asked the camp authorities several times to bring me a doctor to do Echocardiogram, but it is more than a month and I am still waiting for it.” she said.

Galawezh and other migrants fear that they have reached a dead end. She explained, “We tried so many times to cross the border and enter Croatia but no way, the route is badly blocked, Croatian police took all necessary measures to prevent us from crossing the border.” She reported that many of her fellow migrants are instead choosing to be returned to their home countries.

According to her testimony, human traffickers are taking advantage of the situation, demanding EUR 5,000 without being able to guarantee safe passage into Croatia in return.

Reflecting on her experience, Galawezh described it as “very tough and terrible”, adding that most people in the camp regret having tried to migrate irregularly.

TMP – 28/12/2018

Photo caption: Bihac, BiH, September 01, 2018 – Migrants and refugees live in hard condition in camp in Bihać. European migrant crisis. Migrants using Balkan route through Bosnia to reach EU – Image