BiH’s Security Minister Announces New Approach to Migrant Crisis

Bosnia’s new Security Minister Fahrudin Radoncic will step up monitoring on the border with Serbia and Montenegro to stop the influx of illegal migrants from those countries and coordinate activities with ministers of the interior in the region, the Security Ministry said in a statement on 15.01.

The statement was issued after a meeting of the operational group in charge of illegal migrations.

Announcing the new approach to dealing with illegal migration in the country, Radoncic said his ministry cannot be the only institution in the country responsible for the care of migrants and that all institutions and state agencies should become involved.

Radoncic told heads of local police agencies who are members of the task force that he would focus on more effective border control and the prevention of illegal arrivals of migrants, as well as on strengthening the capacity of border police and office for foreigners, adding that he will also hold talks with the neighboring countries ministers of the interior on ways to tackle the problem together.

Due to winter conditions, the number of illegal migrants arriving in Bosnia and Herzegovina is decreasing and currently around 5,500 illegal migrants are staying in reception centers in the country.

The measures announced by Radoncic were also backed by former Security Minister Dragan Mektic, who said he had also proposed similar measures but never received the support of the government for them.

The Serb member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milorad Dodik, strongly opposed proposals of Mektic, soldiers to be deployed along Bosnia’s eastern border (with Serbia) to help police prevent illegal entries, and the state-level leadership has to date not approved the filling of more than 500 vacant police posts.

At the same time, the authorities and institutions of the Republika Srpska have stubbornly refused to open reception centers in their territory to ease the pressure of migrants in the Bihac area along the border with Croatia. On the other hand, many communities in the Federation, mainly in the south and west, also refuse to open reception centers.

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