IOM: A constant increase in the number of arrivals, but migrants don’t stay long in BiH

SARAJEVO, April 12 (FENA) – According to data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Western Balkans region records stable migration flows.

”Data on the number of migrants changes daily. We observe a constant increase in arrivals from 2021. Last year, more than 200,000 migrants entered the Western Balkans. The difference compared to previous years is that migrants do not stay long in Bosnia and Herzegovina, nor other countries of the Western Balkans in general. They tend to pass quite quickly on their way to Western Europe. We have seen changing trends, they spend less time in temporary reception centers and move quickly across the country,” the IOM said in a statement for FENA.

As they point out, regular and reliable collection, analysis and dissemination of data and research on mixed migration flows to improve evidence-based policies and programming will also remain at the heart of responses and capacity-building activities carried out with government partners.

Regarding the structure of migrants in temporary reception centers, the largest number of them are citizens of Syria (40 percent), followed by Afghanistan (21 percent), Morocco (15 percent), Egypt (2 percent) and Nepal (2 percent).

”Currently, there is still enough accommodation capacity in Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the data of the Service for Foreigners’ Affairs, which, among other things, registers migrants in the Centers, four temporary reception centers accommodate about 2,000 migrants, which is half of the available beds. IOM continues to support BiH authorities in providing humanitarian assistance to migrants. IOM, through funds from the European Union and other donors and in coordination with the Service, provides direct assistance such as accommodation, food and non-food items, access to water, sanitation and hygiene services, as well as protection assistance, including referral to specialized services. In addition, IOM, in coordination with the Service, deploys mobile teams that provide support to migrants in transit points. IOM will also continue to support the building of institutional capacities for verification, registration, referral and assistance to vulnerable persons, including the return to the countries of origin of all those who wish to return,” the IOM points out.

When it comes to the security situation in temporary reception centers IOM said that it is generally stable when it comes to migrants, but that the authorities must intensify their efforts to combat migrant smuggling networks that represent a real security risk for the country and these networks exploit migrants.

The Directorate for Coordination of Police Bodies of BiH (DKPT) takes care of security in temporary reception centers, which cooperates with all state agencies responsible for security and also coordinates with cantonal police authorities. The IOM emphasizes that the security of reception centers, as well as of migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees, is the responsibility of the BiH authorities.