Activists from the NGO “Are You Syrious” published a video on Monday showing several people in metal cages at the Klobuk border crossing with Montenegro near the southern Bosnian town of Trebinje. The NGO said the people are families who came to Bosnia from Iraq.
One of the activists said the local authorities were returning the migrants to Montenegro without allowing them to apply for asylum, which, he said, is against both domestic and international law.
Bosnia's border police, on the other hand, said on Tuesday that migrants shown in the video came into Bosnia illegally, avoiding the legal border crossings, which is why they were returned to Montenegro under the Readmission Agreement between the two states.
“The migrants had no identification documents apart from Montenegrin confirmations for asylum requests. After the Trebinje border police officers gave them food and water, they were placed in holding rooms, pending readmission to Montenegro,” the border police said in a public statement.
They denied any inhumane treatment of migrants in the border crossing's holding rooms, adding that the facility was built with the help of EU funds and that these were prefabricated buildings. Because of that, they said, there are no usual holding rooms, and the space is instead divided with metal barriers and is well-ventilated, with heating, enough daylight, and equipped with all the sanitary facilities.
Migrants were not locked in the rooms at any point, they added, and they stayed there for less than two hours.