The issue of illegal migration is not a humanitarian one, but a security matter, said Serb BiH tripartite presidency member Milorad Dodik (22.04), adding that he fully supports the security minister’s idea of sending migrants back from Bosnia to their countries of origin. Dodik said he was pleased that such an idea came from a government official in charge of the matter. “We cannot keep 6,000-7,000 migrants besides all the problems we already have”, he stressed.
Bosnia was spared from the influx of illegal migrants as they passed through the country on their way to Western Europe. But after most EU countries closed their borders to illegal migrants, those who tried to cross BiH to Croatia were left stranded on Bosnian territory.
The issue was recently discussed in Sarajevo by Bosnian Security Minister Fahrudin Radoncic, during the visit of Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, both agreeing that it is a security issue that does not possess humanitarian nature.
“Brussels has chosen the wrong policy on illegal migration and has unfortunately put many Western Balkan countries in an extremely difficult situation. We believe that illegal migration should be stopped, not tolerated”, the Hungarian minister said, stressing that his country would not accept any illegal migrants.
The security minister Radoncic said (23.04) that preparations have been made in Bosnia for the deportation of illegal economic migrants back to their countries of origin. In this regard, he requested that the BiH Foreigners’ Affairs Service be provided with a list of the exact number of migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Algeria, Afghanistan, Morocco, Tunisia, Syria and Iraq. Radoncic noted that they will treat migrants from Syria quite differently, as this is still a war zone and these people need help.
“We want the Foreigners’ Service to determine the identity of these people because an extremely large number of them don’t want to show their passports, IDs or reveal their identities. With this kind of identity hiding, it’s possible for them to be terrorists or members of criminal groups that will wait here for a year or two, go to Europe, change their identities and hide their past, and play the role of a sleeper cell awaiting to receive orders to carry out terrorist attacks. We asked the Service to conduct a survey among migrants as to whether there are such that would agree to a voluntary deportation. We will take their written statements so we can enter the stage of diplomatic negotiations with their diplomatic missions in Bosnia, with the aim of securing funds for deportation flights”, Radoncic said.
The Ministry of Security aims to achieve several effects with the deportation: to remove the “ballast” from the country of about 8,000-9,000 people that it cannot economically support in a situation in which at least 50,000-60,000 Bosnian citizens will lose their jobs; to prevent new migrants from arriving once borders have reopened and to improve the security situation in BiH, the region and the EU.
“This is also a message to some EU countries – that we refuse to be a migrant depot where they will select their workforce leaving our citizens to live in fear and discomfort”, said Radoncic.
“People who do not want to reveal their identity will not be allowed to go to accommodation centers and they will be kept in custody until we learn their identity. We will propose legal solutions for such persons”.
Radoncic estimated that some countries did not want to assist in the deportation of migrants to their countries and Pakistan appears to be one of them. If that proves to be true, he will ask the BiH Council of Ministers to declare the ambassador of Pakistan to BiH a persona non grata and send him back to his country.