[Human Security] An urgent appeal on behalf of refugees stranded in Bosnia and Herzegovina

To the general public in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and across Europe: An urgent appeal on behalf of refugees stranded in Bosnia and Herzegovina

 To want the world 
to continue 
as it is 
 is to want it 
not to continue 
to exist 
 (Erich Fried) 

We, the undersigned, are angered and distressed by the appalling circumstances in which a group of people in the Lipa area, near the town of Bihać in Bosnia and Herzegovina, have been living for months in makeshift camps. Their living conditions are appalling and subhuman. There are 700 refugees currently eking out an existence in Lipa; the situation that faces thousands more throughout the border region is unknown.

We are profoundly shocked by the dire plight of these people. Some of us were once war refugees ourselves. We condemn the hatred being stirred up against the migrants by local politicians and residents. We condemn, too, the violent „pushback“ treatment being meted out to refugees arriving in Croatia by the border police, who repeatedly – in breach of Croatian and European asylum law and the Geneva Convention on Refugees – force them back across the border into Bosnia and Herzegovina. And we also condemn the EU authorities, who are aware of these pushbacks but tacitly condone them.

It is more than respect for the law, it is the fundamental imperative of our common humanity that compels us to speak out against the inhumane treatment of migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Croatia. Sudbin Musić, a Bosnian survivor of the Trnopolje concentration camp, warns that „the misery of the migrants‘ current situation could soon turn into a tragedy without precedent“. This is why we are calling on each and every individual who believes in the idea of a democratic and united Europe to stand up and speak out!

The refugees are in urgent need of safe and decent accommodation and medical care. We demand an immediate end to the violence at the EU border and an acknowledgment of Europe’s complicity and responsibility. Croatia must respect international law and apply European law at the border; Bosnia and Herzegovina must guarantee that EU funds are spent promptly and without bureaucratic hindrance on the provision of emergency aid; and the EU must stop pressurising Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to prevent refugees entering the EU at any cost. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Refugee Convention commit the EU to implementing just and fair asylum procedures at its external borders; we demand that the individuals stranded on the Balkan Route are allowed access to such an asylum procedure. All those of us who believe in Europe and our common humanity must stand together and end the silence. We refuse to accept that the world should continue as it is.

Jasmina Musić, actor

Alida Bremer, author and translator

Doris Akrap, journalist

Saša Stanišić, author

Carl-Wilhelm Macke, journalist

Annika Reich, author, co-founder of WIR MACHEN DAS and Weiter Schreiben

Katerina Poladjan, author

Marko Dinić, author

Mersiha Husagić, actor and film-maker

Inger-Maria Mahlke, author

Ivna Žic, author

Stephan Lohse, author

Dragica Rajčić Holzner, author

Zora del Buono, author

Rüdiger Rossig, journalist

Doris Engelke, editor

Pia Ziefle, author and bookseller

Goran Krnić, literary scholar and historian

Helga Montag, journalist

Julia Eichhorn, literary agent

Nina de la Chevallerie, director

Ivana Sajko, author

Christine Koschmieder, author and literary agent

Gabriel Rodriguez Silvero, actor and cultural studies expert

Jasna Čaušević, Genocide Prevention officer at Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker

Thomas Schad, author and public diplomacy, history and politics specialist

Vivianne Rau, volunteer with SOS Balkanroute

Matthias Heyl, historian, author and director of Jugendbegegnungsstätte Ravensbrück

Adnan Softić, artist, author and film director

Maria Regina Heinitz, author

Thomas Ruhl, physician

Zoran Grozdanov, Professor of Protestant Theology at the University of Zagreb

Vahidin Preljević, Professor of German Studies at the University of Sarajevo

Urška P. Černe, literary translator

Maja Delinić, stage director

Cindy Riqui, finance assistant, GRIPS Theaterher.story Theaterkollektiv

Nicolas Moll, historian

Oliver Held, playwright, Theater Aachen

Sadija Klepo, director of Balkantage festival, München

Renata Trischler, coordinator at Arbeitsgemeinschaft deutscher Minderheiten

Elvira Veselinović, literary translator and interpreter

Teresa Zschernig, actor

Bassam Ghazi, stage director and drama coach

Svetlana Fourer, stage director, author and drama coach

Heinz Simon Keller, actor, stage director, theatre director at Theater der Keller

Maja Zećo, actor

Danko Rabrenović, author, musician, journalist

Sudbin Musić, journalist and activist

Dijana Brnić, arts and culture administrator

Hanna Slak, director and film-maker

Nermina Kukić, author and actor

Magdalena Jagelke, author

Parvaneh Djafarzadeh, inter-cultural trainer and adviser

Matthias Berthold, actor and musician

Sead Porobić, literary scholar and author

Goran Georgievski, climate research scientist

Branko Šimić, stage director

Demjan Duran, stage director and actor

Christine Wunnicke, author

Isabel Bogdan, author

Slavica Klimkovsky, author

Josefina Elisabeta Bajer, culture administrator

Evelyn Schalk, author

Carola Unser, stage director

Vernesa Berbo, actor

Leah Carola Czollek, author

Murisa Adilović, inter-cultural trainer and adviser

Sibylle Clauß-Schleicher, author and actor

Luise Rist, author, boat people projekt e.V.

Sonja Elea Schroeder, stage director, boat people projekt e.V.


Jasmina Musić: jasmina_music@ymail.com

Alida Bremer: alida.bremer@t-online.de

Gostiona Divna means Wonderful Hostel. Picture taken on the so-called Balkan route between Bosanski Petrovac and Bihać in the Una-Sana-Canton in early 1998, when Bosnians ironically called buildings devastated by the recent war (1992-1995) „capriolet[ized]“. I was back on my way from visiting my returnee grandmother, who had found refuge in Germany during the war years. Thomas Schad


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