The Balkan Refugee Crisis
A new migrant trail opens up across the Balkans
As Mediterranean nations adopt more hardline policies towards migrants and refugees, new paths to Europe have opened up through the Balkans. Will Bosnia become Europe's latest chokepoint?
In a wood outside the town of Bihac, a once derelict student dormitory has become an overcrowded slum for over 500 desperate refugees. "We are helpless passengers, so please it’s my request for all European countries, do something for these people", says one woman who has walked nearly 3,000 miles to escape the Taliban. For many refugees, this new trail along Croatia’s borders is the gateway into the EU. Once through, they are theoretically free to cross national boundaries without documents. "You can close and you can increase the border controls but you can never close the border. Because if people are very determined they will find a way through", says Peter van der Auweraert, of the UN's International Organisation for Migration. But as the new government in neighbouring Italy promises to deport unwanted migrants, and with Croatia stepping up border patrols, many journeys are coming to a halt in Bosnia. "The main problem is that all the borders now are closed... more police stand on the borders that the migrants cannot cross to Croatia and other parts of Europe, so very much they are stuck here", says Amir Draganovic of the Red Cross.FULL SYNOPSIS