The Transbalkan Solidarity collective strongly condemns the violence against the people on the move that takes place on an everyday basis in Bosnia and Herzegovina, mostly in Una-Sana Canton and Velika Kladuša. During the last few days we have been receiving countless messages with descriptions and photographs documenting violent acts committed against them by the police, individuals and vigilante groups. They are being followed, stolen from, verbally harassed and physically attacked. The rage exhibited against the bodies of the people on the move, including children, show that the violence is seriously escalating. The violence is no longer perpetrated only by the police forces or private security companies, but also citizens that have started to ‘take things in their own hands’. What we are witnessing now is orchestrated violence that soon can become crime against humanity. Which is why it needs to be stopped immediately, preventing more serious outcomes, while it is still possible.

The violence against the people on the move does not only occur in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is widespread along the inner and outer borders of the European Union, but the current escalation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is particularly troublesome. The violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a direct consequence of the politics of silence, of silent approval, from state level institutions within whose mandate so-called ‘migration management’ lies. It is a result of the politics of silence from the international organisations that work in the field of migrations and human rights as well as, primarily IOM, OSCE and Office of the High Representative, but also the Delegation of the EU in the country.

The Transbalkan Solidarity collective demands from the state level institutions and international organisations to put an end to the politics of silence and immediately condemn the violence and put a stop to impunity surrounding these crimes. We call upon them to ensure a decent, safe and humane environment for the people on the move. Finally, we call upon the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina to resist the normalisation and participation in the violence and criminalisation of the people on the move. We call for an immediate stop to hate rhetoric, which is grounded in the fear of those that are only seeking safety, or in a nationalistic ideology that once brought permanent destruction to this area. 

Stop the violence now before it is too late! 

More information can be found on FB groups Help for refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Transbalkanska solidarnost.