IOM in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH)
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.
During the migrant and refugee crisis in 2015 - 2016, IOM - the UN Migration Agency - together with the international community, scaled up its presence in Greece and the Western Balkans, and in particular in North Macedonia and Serbia part of the so-called Western Balkan route, to support national authorities and civil society in responding to the emergency situation, and providing direct assistance and protection to migrants, particularly those most vulnerable to violence, exploitation and abuse, or a violation of their rights.
Following the significant increase of migrant arrivals to Bosnia and Herzegovina in late 2017, IOM, in coordination with State, Entity, cantonal and local authorities, scaled up its operations in key migrant locations across the country through the reinforcement of IOM Mobile Protection Teams. These mobile teams have been operating since June 2017, assisting migrants in vulnerable situations, providing safe transportation, interpretation services, provision of temporary and protection-sensitive accommodation, food and other necessities.
IOM Mobile Protection Teams – strategically located to be able to cover the entire migration route, from the Eastern border with Serbia and Montenegro to the North-West border with Croatia, and the main reception centres and informal settlements – performed vulnerability screenings and referred migrants to appropriate assistance and protection service providers.
Latest News and Events
(Sarajevo, 20. august 2019. godine.) - Evropska unija je nedavno obezbijedila dodatnih 14,8 miliona eura bespovratnih sredstava za nastavak podrške Bosni i Hercegovini u oblasti migracija i upravljanja granicama u kontekstu povećanog broja migranata i izbjeglica prisutnih u zemlji od kraja 2017. godine.
To uključuje 13 miliona eura podrške za upravljanje migracijama - za koje je nedavno potpisan Sporazum o implementaciji sa Međunarodnom organizacijom za migracije (IOM) i 1,8 miliona eura humanitarne pomoći koju pruža Evropska komisija za humanitarnu pomoć i odjel za civilnu zaštitu (ECHO).
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(Sarajevo, 20th August 2019) – The European Union has recently allocated additional €14.8 million in grants to continue to support Bosnia and Herzegovina in migration and border management in the context of the increased number of refugees and migrants present in the country since the end of 2017.
This includes €13 million of support to migration management - for which an implementation agreement has been signed recently with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and €1.8 million of humanitarian aid provided by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).
IOM’s Migration Response (as of June 2019)
UN Country Team in BiH: Joint Statement on Relocation of Migrants and Refugees to a location near Bihać
“Vucjak” poses very significant health and safety risks and is currently not equipped to accommodate migrants and refugees in accordance with international standards. The site is located very close to landmine infected areas. There is also a high fire and explosion hazard due to the possible presence of methane gas underground, as the site was a former landfill. Unless these two serious risks are assessed and eliminated by the relevant authorities, the site is unsuitable for human habitation. In addition, there are no sanitary facilities available on the site and no access to running water or electricity. Under these circumstances, locating migrants and refugees there is not acceptable.
In 2018 alone, 17.2 million new displacements associated with disasters in 148 countries and territories were recorded (IDMC) and drought displaced 764,000 people in Somalia, Afghanistan and several other countries.
(Sarajevo, 01. juni 2019.) - U privremenom prihvatnom centru Miral u Velikoj Kladuši, u jutarnjim satima u 6:20 došlo je do požara na prvom spratu hale u kojoj se nalaze spavaonice za 247 migranata.
Osoblje Međunarodne organizacije za migracije (IOM) koji borave u centru 24/7 i koji su obučeni da djeluju u kriznim situacijama, uspješno su evakuirali korisnike centra koji su se nalazili u požarom zahvaćenom dijelu zgrade.
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(Sarajevo, 1st June 2019) - At the temporary reception center Miral in Velika Kladuša, around 06:20 this morning, a fire broke out on the first floor of the dormitory which accommodates 247 migrant and refugees.
IOM staff which is present in the centers 24/7 and is trained to respond to such events, quickly responded and successfully evacuated the migrants from the burning part of the building.
Peter Van Der Auweraert, IOM Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Western Balkans, held a presentation on the occasion of the NATO field exercise in the Base Operations at the University campus yesterday in Tuzla on behalf of the UN agencies. Field NATO exercise to manage the consequences of crisis situations, simulated in Tuzla, represents a central event exercise organized jointly by the NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) and the Ministry of Security of BiH.
The third MoviEQ workshop, under the project "Community Based Approaches to Support Youth in Local Communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina", implemented by IOM BiH, was held in Prijedor, 21-24 September, and it was attended by young people from several local communities of the City of Prijedor.
The Coordination Meeting on the Prevention and Combatting Violent Extremism (P/CVE) in Bosnia and Herzegovina was held yesterday, at the UN House, and organized by the Ministry of Security of BiH, with support from the IOM Mission in Sarajevo.
With opening remarks delivered by the BiH Minister, Mr. Dragan Mektić, the meeting took place within the framework of the BiH Strategy for Preventing and Combatting Violent Extremism 2015-2020, and it was chaired by the P/CVE National Coordinator for BiH, Mr. Samir Rizvo.
The third MoviEQ workshop, under the project "Community Based Approaches to Support Youth in Local Communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina", implemented by IOM BiH, was held in Tuzla, 21-24 September. 18 young people had the opportunity to share their experiences and gain new knowledge about themselves and others.
Second MoviEQ workshop, as a continuation of activities implemented by IOM, through the project "Community Based Approach to Support Youth in Targeted Municipalities in BiH" was held in Maoca (24 to 27 of August).
As part of the project "Community Based Approach to Support Youth in Targeted Municipalities in BiH", a MoviEQ Workshop began on 26 August, in Zenica.
The fourth module of the workshop for parents from Jablanica was held within the framework of the project "Community Based Approach to Support Youth in Targeted Municipalities in BiH", in Blagaj.
In the framework of the project "Reconstruction of Sports Fields" in Miljevina, the construction of sports grounds in front of the Primary School "Sveti Sava" started yesterday. This is a project run by the youth from this community and financed by IOM BiH through its project "Community Based Approach to Support Youth in Targeted Municipalities in BiH".