The United Nations expressed grave concern Thursday regarding the relocation of hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers from the northern Bosnian town of Bihac to the neighbouring Vucjak migrant camp, urging Bosnia's authorities to find an alternative location.
The UN team in Bosnia and Herzegovina recalled that the location of the Vucjak camp represents a security and health risk because it is not in line with international humanitarian standards, making it unfit for migrants' accommodation.
The location was once a waste dumpsite, which has been properly decommissioned and closed. The people living there also expressed concerns with the Bihac authorities' decision to set up camp there, saying the area is still hazardous because it could potentially leak toxic gases and leak harmful drains.
All the shortcomings were mentioned before, in the UN team's joint statement from June 14, made after the Bihac City Council decided to relocate the migrants from the centre of Bihac into the Vucjak migrant centre.
UN's envoy on Human Rights for Migrants Felipe González Morales noted that the site was absolutely inappropriate and inhumane to house human beings, urging Bosnian authorities to stop the practice of forcibly bringing migrants there and to find alternative accommodation for them.
The UN team in Bosnia endorsed the Special Rapporteur's report calling on the authorities to close the camp as soon as possible and provide a more humane location for their accommodation.
"Authorities are aware of the fact that Vucjak is located near mined areas and that there is a high risk of fire and explosion due to the possible presence of methane in the soil. (The camp) is not supplied with electricity, water or medical care, and has very few toilets," the UN team said.