[Stop-traffic] News/Bosina: INTERVIEW-Bosnia must act to stem illegal ...

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/Bosina: INTERVIEW-Bosnia must act to stem illegal ...
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Fri Jan 01 1904 - 14:50:37 EST


                  INTERVIEW-Bosnia must act to stem illegal ...

RTw 8-7-00 11:48 AM

Copyright 2000 Reuters Ltd. All rights reserved.
The following news report may not be republished or redistributed, in whole
or in part, without the prior written consent of Reuters Ltd.
   INTERVIEW-Bosnia must act to stem illegal immigrants-envoy
      By Daria Sito-Sucic
      SARAJEVO, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Bosnia needs to establish secure borders
and a tighter visa regime to stop illegal immigrants who are increasingly
using the Balkan country as a first stop to Western Europe, a U.N. envoy
said.
      "We are talking about illegal economic immigrants, we are talking
about trafficking in women, and we are talking about drugs," the head of
the United Nations mission in Bosnia, Jacques Klein, told Reuters in an
interview at the weekend.
      He said illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, China, Iran and
Turkey used well-established channels to arrive in Bosnia either by air
from Istanbul or by road via Yugoslavia.
      On landing at Sarajevo the immigrants are escorted by criminal gangs
in Bosnia's Moslem-Croat federation to Bosnian Serb territory, where other
gangs take them across the border to Croatia and then to Western Europe, he
added.
      The U.N. mission put the official number of illegal immigrants trying
to reach Western Europe via Bosnia at around 1,000 in the past six months.
However Klein said that figure represented only about 30 percent of the
true total.
      After a long delay Bosnia established a joint multi-ethnic border
police force in June to fight cross-border crime and the smuggling of goods
and people into the former Yugoslav republic.
      "We have to demonstrate in Bosnia and Herzegovina that we have secure
borders, otherwise they won't let us into Europe," said Klein.
      Post-war Bosnia comprises two highly autonomous territories, the
Moslem-Croat federation and the Serb republic, and division along ethnic
lines is visible in all walks of life.
      But Klein said there was no ethnic problem among criminals.
      "Criminals are multi-ethnic, criminals all speak the same language,
criminals understand each other very well," he said, adding that Moslems,
Croats and Serbs were making fortunes from illegal immigrants.
      But the would-be immigrants themselves often put their lives at risk,
Klein said. In May eight Iranians drowned trying to cross the Sava river
separating Bosnia from Croatia.
      The European Commission's Customs and Fiscal Office (CAFAO) has
estimated that the Bosnian state was losing over 500 million Bosnian marka
($230 million) a year in revenue due to cross-border smuggling and tax
evasion.
   ($1-2.159 Bosnian marka)
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