During December 2020, BiH authorities registered the arrival of 529 migrants and asylum-seekers to the country, bringing the total for 2020 to 16,150 (of which 351 were unaccompanied and separated children (UASC)). The majority of people arriving in December declared to be from Afghanistan (29%), Pakistan (17%) and Morocco (11%).
Presence in BiH at the End of the Month
Overall, it is estimated that between 8,000 and 8,800 migrants and asylum-seekers are in the country at the end of December 2020. 6,051 migrants and asylum-seekers are sheltered in reception centres (close to 4,350 in Sarajevo Canton (SC) and 1,720 in Una-Sana Canton (USC)) while 1,900-2,700 persons are estimated to be squatting outside of formal accommodation, mainly in USC, including 900 at the Lipa site. Among those people in reception facilities, some 73% are single adult males, 19% are families with children and about 8% are UASC.
Key Gaps and Challenges
Closure of ETC Lipa
On 23 December 2020, the Emergency Tent Camp (ETC) Lipa, Una-Sana Canton (USC) was officially closed due to its unsuitability for winter conditions. On the same day, a fire destroyed part of the camp, fortunately not causing casualties. As a consequence, the humanitarian situation of migrants and asylum seekers in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has deteriorated dramatically with current humanitarian and protection needs exceeding the response capacity. On 29-30 December, State authorities attempted the relocation of all migrants from Lipa to army barracks in Konjic in Hercegovina-Neretva Canton municipality, but the relocation was cancelled following protests by the host community. At the end of the year, approximately 900 migrants and asylum-seekers remained on the site of the former ETC Lipa without access to basic services and adequate accommodation, many went on a hunger strike, asking for the EU to allow them entry and for immediate decent shelter solution.