United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) representative Geeta Narayan stayed in Bosnia's North-Western Una-Sana Canton, on Tuesday, where she learned about the state of migrant children there, on their way to crossing into Croatia and entering the EU.
“We are here today primarily because of the 'Justice for Every Child' program which aims to strengthen the system at the moment when children come into contact with the law, either as victims, witnesses or perpetrators of criminal offences,” Narayan said. “It is a system in which centres for social work, police, prosecutors and the whole community should be involved in order to support the children. The second purpose of my visit was to see what can be improved when it comes to taking care of children and vulnerable categories of migrants that the UNICEF is already taking care of."
She reaffirmed that there is an increased influx of migrants to the Canton, among whom are children, families and unaccompanied minors.
According to her, the goal of this visit was to meet the Prime Minister and see what kind of help and conditions can be offered in the context of health care, education and other things that they need.
The Una-Sana Canton, which borders with Croatia has been a hub for migrants ever since Hungary and Bulgaria introduced strict measures and barbed wire along their borders. This forced migrants to use Bosnia as a transit country, in an attempt to reach Western Europe in search of a better life.
According to the latest estimates, there are around 9,000 migrants residing in the country, most of whom are situated in migrant camps in and around Una-Sana Canton's Bihac and Velika Kladusa towns. They mostly enter the country from the direction of Serbia and Montenegro.
The Una-Sana Canton's Prime Minister Mustafa Ruznic familiarised the UNICEF representative with activities Cantonal authorities are conducting in cooperation with the UNICEF and other institutions, aimed at protecting the migrant children.
Narayan concluded that UNICEF appreciates everything the Canton does on this matter.