IOM in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)


Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH) is located at a migration crossroad between Eastern and Western Europe. The conflict in the former Yugoslavia from 1992 to 1995 destroyed the social and economic infrastructure and forced over half of citizens of BH to leave their homes. Today, the return of displaced persons and a rise in illegal migration, such as human trafficking and smuggling, make migration a major challenge for BH’s post-conflict recovery and development.

IOM initiated a mission in Sarajevo in 1992 in the basement of Koševo Hospital, setting up the MEDEVAC programme to evacuate war-wounded individuals who could not be treated locally. Following the end of the war, IOM expanded its activities to the return of refugees from abroad and to assist BH nationals resettling in third countries. Today, IOM’s programmes aim to prevent irregular migration, stop the trafficking of human beings, contribute to national development, and assist the BH Government to manage migration activities.

Mission statement

IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.

As the leading international organization for migration, IOM acts with its partners in the international community to:

  • Assist in meeting the growing operational challenges of migration management,
  • Advance understanding of migration issues,
  • Encourage social and economic development through migration, and
  • Uphold the human dignity and well-being of migrants.

Latest News and Events

  • Interview with Peter Van der Auweraert, Start magazin, 09 March 2018


    In first 2 months of 2018, 200 persons requested asylum and got free legal aid, mainly males, says NGO Your Rights. “We are acting in their behalf in the procedures of asylum seeking, we provide advice, information. If the asylum is approved, we are leading them through the procedures of realizing their refugee rights. If the MoS passes the negative decision, we are pressing charges with the Court of BiH”. The goal of each migrant is their personal thing. “It is not good to talk about their goals because we are entering the essence of individual cases. We should bare on mind that asylum process is secret”. “The Law on Foreigners and the Law on Asylum do not prescribe sanctions for providing humanitarian aid. The Law envisages sanctions to the private and physical persons who are providing accommodation to foreigners without reporting their residence. If someone has rented an apartment to the persons without documents, that one is not guilty because was not obliged to know about that”, says Your Rights.

    * * *

    Za prva dva mjeseca 2018. godine 200 lica je u procesu traženja azila u BiH dobilo besplatnu pravnu pomoć u nevladinoj organizaciji „Vaša prava“, uglavnom samci muškog pola, kažu u ovoj nevladinoj organizaciji specijalizovanoj za besplatnu pravnu pomoć. „Zastupamo ih u proceduri traženja azila na način da ih savjetujemo, informišemo i pomažemo u procesu registracije i intervjua. Ako dobiju azil, vodimo ih kroz proceduru ostvarivanja izbjegličkih prava. Ako Ministarstvo sigurnosti BiH, koje je nadležno za postupak azila, donese negativnu odluku, pišemo tužbu Sudu BiH“, pojašnjavaju u „Vašim pravima“. Napominju da je cilj svakog azilanta u BiH lična stvar. „Nezahvalno je govoriti o tome šta je njihov cilj u BiH jer ulazimo u suštinu individualnih slučajeva. Treba imati u vidu da je postupak azila tajan“, kažu u „Vašim pravima“ i napominju da pružanje pomoći iregularnim migrantima i tražiteljima azila nije nezakonita radnja.







    Project:            BHRI001 – Construction of the river walkway and outdoor gym in Gornji Rahić, Brčko  District        

    Ref. No.:          BHRI/RFQ/002

    Published on:  09 March 2018

    Deadline:        21 March 2018

  • Youth from Foca presented projects "To hear us louder"


    Youth from Foca, gathered around the project "Community Based Approach to Support Youth in Targeted Municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina", implemented by the IOM, presented projects "To hear us louder" and "Sport and reconstruction of a youth outings spot for greater youth activism" to the Project Comittee on the third "Community Dialogue".



  • Third MoviEQ workshop was held in Zvornik


    At the third MoviEQ workshop in Zvornik, February 25-28, through socializing, play, presentation, thinking and learning youth learned that the world not black and white. During the four-day workshop, they expanded views of the world, and raised integrative complexity to a higher level.


Latest Vacancy

The first module of the second Community Dialogue was held in Capljina

The first module of the second Community Dialogue was held in Capljina. Youth from local communities Bivolje Brdo, Domanovici and Oplicici pointed to the problems they are facing. After discussing potential solutions, it was decided that two projects would be implemented in the coming period, one is "Procurement of equipment for cultural and artistic society", and the other "Procurement of sports equipment for pupils from 1st to 5th grade". 


Contract signed by the representatives of two youth groups from Foca and representatives of IOM ("Community Based Approach to Support Youth in Targeted Municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina")

The contracts on the implementation of the projects "Construction of multipurpose sports grounds in Jezerine" and "Arranging area around monumental medieval tombstones and arranging promenade near lake" were signed yesterday by the representatives of two youth groups from Foca and representatives of IOM. 


Meeting with Semiha Borovac, Minister of Human Rights and Refugees

During the courtesy visit and working meeting with Semiha Borovac, Minister of Human Rights and Refugees, Peter Van Der Auweraert, IOM Chief of Mission in BiH spoke about the necessity to have as many BiH institutions on board with the goal to issue adequate response to the migrant crisis and influx of migrants to the country, which is becoming larger.

It was emphasized that the priority now is to secure additional accommodation and protection for migrants, especially when it comes to most vulnerable population, like families, unaccompanied minors, marginalized groups.. Van der Auweraert also said that in order to receive international aid, it is necessary for Bosnia and Herzegovina to adopt clear plan of action when it comes to increased migrant influx. Such plan is being drafted and we are expecting a discussion at the BiH Council of Ministers about the mentioned topic.


Press release / Saopštenje za medije

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) steps up its response to the ongoing arrivals of migrants and refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina

27th December 2017, SARAJEVO – During the past days Bosnia and Herzegovina has faced increased influx of irregular migrants that are arriving to its eastern border with Montenegro. The latest arrivals originate mostly from North Africa, through Greece, Albania, on through Montenegro to Trebinje. They arrive in small groups composed predominantly of single adult men.  From 01st January to 26 December 2017, the BiH Border police detained a total of 735 irregular migrants, which compare to total figures for 2016 of less than 100 irregular migrants. This represents a significant increase and has put the capacity of the relevant authorities and national aid agencies such as the Red Cross under strain. In response, IOM, in line with its mandate as the UN Migration Agency, has stepped up its efforts to assist them, in collaboration with other UN agencies.