A significant spike in the number of migrants trying to reach the EU countries through Bosnia was recorded in 2017, said the Bosnian Border Police. 651 nationals of “high migration risk countries” were discovered attempting to enter the country between January 1 and December 15. Less than one hundred were discovered in 2016.
105 migrants were discovered in October, 76 in November, and 103 in the first 15 days of December, the Border Police said. Most of the migrants came from Algeria, Pakistan, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Turkey, Libya, Syria, Morocco, Iran and Albania. Chief of the Bosnian Border Police, Zoran Galić, told Fena news agency that migrants mostly avoid border crossings and travel on foot. However, some migrants were caught trying to enter the country hidden in trucks or using boats to cross the Drina river.
Those who cross the border undetected usually try to reach Croatia, an EU member, by crossing the border in northwestern Bosnia, and recently in southern Bosnia.
This week, a youth organization in the central Bosnia town of Jablanica marked the International Day of Migrants with a panel discussion and a documentary screening. The screening was part of the Global Migration Film Festival, organized by the International Organization for Migration in 90 countries. IOM Western Balkan Regional Coordinator and head of mission in Bosnia, Peter Van der Auweraert, said that Jablanica was chosen for the screening as the town’s young people wanted to learn more about migration.
“Many young people who live in this community want to leave the country (…). The documentary (screened in Jablanica) tells the story of Nepalese workers who go abroad to work and the difficulties they experience. It could be said that the film depicts negative aspects of labor migration,” said Van der Auweraert.
IOM will mark the International Day of Migrants in Sarajevo as well. A film about vulnerable migrant groups will be screened on December 18.