Bosnia's Service for Foreigners' Affairs has recorded the entries of more than 62,000 migrants since 2018 with less than three percent of them applying for asylum in the country, the agency's deputy director, Mirsad Buzar, told N1.
The agency is struggling with a number of issues concerning the migrants, such as poor or non-existent communication due to the lack of translators for their native languages. Sometimes it happens that migrants give false information about their origin.
“If they are Moroccans they say they are Algerians, Pakistanis or even Afghans. They are trying to deceive competent institutions so they can't determine their identities or further cooperation with the countries of their origin. Despite everything, we're focusing on collecting the information and evidence from the countries the migrants came to Bosnia and Herzegovina, in order to start the readmission process and return them to those countries,” explained Buzar.
According to him, the migrants see Bosnia as a transit country to their desired destinations and want to leave from here as soon as possible.
Of more than 62,000 migrants who entered Bosnia since 2018, 59,000 expressed wish to apply for asylum but only three percent did that.
Over the period of two past years, Bosnia accepted 1,500 foreigners from Croatia and then proceeded to send them back to the countries of their origin.
“Regional cooperation is very important and it is necessary to set equal standards. There was a ministerial conference last week, which was attended by the Western Balkan countries and which discussed the problem of illegal migrations. It emphasised the necessity to strengthen regional cooperation, especially in the context of border protection, fight against trafficking and the enhancement of exchange of information through one platform, which would serve as a basis for competent agencies in transit countries and EU to exchange data in a more efficient way, in order to face this phenomenon in the best possible way,” he said.
The pandemic has shown the countries in the region can cooperate and manage the migrant crisis through jointly taken measures, added Buzar.