24th of February 2020 – If you are a migrant in Sarajevo, the most important thing you have to keep in mind is that you cannot look like one. This morning, at the train station, the first thing we noticed were little groups of people fleeing the area as quickly as they could, trying not to leave any sign of their arrival.
Unlike Tuzla, there is no visible informal camp here, as there seems to be an unwritten law: either you stay hidden or in the official camps.
Walking through the town, also in the areas most visited by tourists, you have to pay attention to notice the migrants, as they are recognizable through little details: a sleeping bag tied to their belt and their eyes fixed on the map they have on their phones. The only exception are those migrants, often underage kids, that sell tissues at street corners to earn some money so that they can continue their journey or at least pay for a decent place to sleep at night.
The migrants live in highly precarious conditions, always exposed to the attacks by local authorities and criminal organizations, as the
Local organizations and IOM
After our talk with Nidzara Ahmetasevic (Bosnian journalist specialised in human rights, foreign politics and migrations) and some activists from Fresh Response, we have learnt that there is no coordination between the organizations working in the town to help the refugees; their composition is diverse: there are Bosnian citizens, international activists and members of religious communities.
What stands out in the solidarity network, although remaining underground, is the spontaneous solidarity of individuals, which often is the first help the migrants get. It is easy to imagine this inclination may originate from the life experience Bosnian citizens have from the 1992-1995 conflict.
This auto-organised, people propelled solidarity, we have been told, is inconvenient for the IOM which directly finances the local organizations in order to impose its control over them with the aim to centralize the solidarity action in the Bosnian territory on itself.
The international funds arriving to Bosnia have been appreciated by the new government, which has presented itself through propaganda as a “strong government” able to manage the migratory phenomenon if properly subsidised.
These processes appear to be the first step towards a possible settlement between the European Union and Bosnia, following the example of the treaties signed with Turkey and Libya.