VIOLENCE AND ABUSE AGAINST REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS ALONG THE BALKANS ROUTE
13 March 2019
The northwestern Bosnian towns of Bihać and Velika Kladuša, nestled at the very border with Croatia, have become a temporary refuge for some 5,500 refugees and migrants fleeing conflict, persecution and poverty. They arrived via the so-called “Balkans route”, passing through Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia, and are now on what they hope will be the last leg of their long journey. Very few people will decide to stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as the vast majority will try to reach the European Union (EU) by crossing into neighbouring Croatia – braving unfamiliar, and often inhospitable, terrain and unwelcoming police on its borders. While a member of the European Union, Croatia is not a Schengen area country, but is eager to demonstrate its readiness to join the border-free area in 2020 by decisively protecting the EU’s external borders from irregular migration.