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Tuzla, Bosnia – Sweeping in town, the unofficial camp has been cleared out

This morning the main Bosnian newspapers (Oslobodenje, Slobodna bosna e Dnevni Avaz) have announced that the unofficial migrant camp set in Tuzla’s train station has been cleared out. Tuzla is the third biggest city after Sarajevo and Banja Luka.

More or less 500 people have been loaded on a dozen buses that have left for the Blazuj camp, near Sarajevo.

“Slobodna Bosna” says that with the new arrivals the Blazuj camp is going to host 1,300 people.

The operation seems to have been carried out in a relatively calm way, although some Facebook profiles belonging to local activists have reported that the police had already been active since the night before, blocking the migrants who lived in Tuzla and picking them up also in the private housings in which many of them lived.

The articles say that this sweeping operation is the consequence of the meeting of Fahrudin Radoncic, the Bosnian Minister of Security, with Tuzla’s mayor Jasmina Imamovića and the canton’s Prime Minister, which has taken place on the 7th of March 2020.

During that meeting, Minister Radoncic would have pressured for a sweeping of the station and a normalization of the situation in Tuzla, also seeing that this year there will be council elections [[https://www.oslobodjenje.ba/vijesti/bih/pocelo-prebacivanje-migranata-iz-tuzle-u-prihvatni-centar-u-blazuju-538536?fbclid=IwAR0fiwvY96zc1D2Tk5seX5buWeF88X78x0uGOcYHQYFfTqZmHJTq5a5P2hg]].

This operation is part of the plan thought by the Bosnian state to show itself as a competent authority in the handling of the migratory crisis, and therefore earning the right of receiving international funds (mainly from the IOM) directly from the source, and without having to rely on intermediaries.

As activists of the campaign Lesvos Calling, we had already highlighted during our previous trips in Bosnia how the IOM has been and is currently centralizing the solidarity around itself [[https://www.meltingpot.org/Sarajevo-attraversata-sottotraccia.html]].

The IOM finances the local entities, thus institutionalizing them, which leads to a greater control over their work and less independence and freedom in possible denounces.

The sweeping of the train station and the transfer of the migrants to the Blazuj camp, run by the IOM, can be seen as another step in the attempt of containing human movement and in the plan to dismantle unofficial solidarity, which is hardly kept under control by the authorities and very much present in Bosnia, especially in the border areas with Croatia.

#Lesvoscalling

Una campagna solidale per la libertà di movimento
Dopo il viaggio conoscitivo a ottobre 2019 a Lesvos e sulla Balkan route, per documentare e raccontare la drammatica situazione sull'isola hotspot greca e conoscere attivisti/e e volontari/e che si adoperano a sostegno delle persone migranti, è iniziata una campagna solidale lungo la rotta balcanica e le "isole confino" del mar Egeo.
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