Representatives of non-governmental organizations from the Western Balkans region attended a two-day meeting on 19th and 20th of September 2017 in Budva on Cultural Sensitive Care of Victims of Trafficking in Mixed Migration Flows. During the meeting, good practices were presented and exchanged experience in this field. IOM organized this activity in the scope of the project "Enhancing Counter Trafficking in Crisis in the Western Balkans", supported by U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP).
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.
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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.
IOM organized the ninth regular coordination meeting of the directors of Border Police agencies from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo*
These regular gatherings serve to exchange information on migration trends and routes as well as main changes in smugglers’ modus operandi. Having in mind that in summer usually the number of arrivals increase, representatives of the Western Balkan countries working on risk analysis and contingency planning have also been included in the discussion.
Local IOM team from Novi Grad Sarajevo organized and held a MoviEQ Workshop in the primary school "Behaudin Selmanović" within the framework of the project "Community Based Approaches to Support Youth in Local Communities". Through this unique workshop, participants had the opportunity to build their emotional intelligence, widen their horizons, and learn new skills to help their future community engagement and/or employment. Participants who fullfiled all the requirements and regularly attended the sessions were awarded a Cambridge University certificate.
New York/Brussels – Migrant and refugee children and youth trying to reach Europe face appalling levels of human rights abuses, with 77 per cent of those traveling along the Central Mediterranean route reporting direct experiences of abuse, exploitation, and practices which may amount to human trafficking – IOM, the UN Migration Agency and UNICEF said today (12/09) in a new report.
Harrowing Journeys shows that while all migrants and refugees are at high risk, children and youth on the move are far more likely to experience exploitation and trafficking than adults aged 25 years and above: nearly twice as likely on the Eastern Mediterranean route and at a rate 13 per cent higher on the Central Mediterranean route.
Aimamo, a 16-year-old unaccompanied child from the Gambia interviewed at a shelter in Italy, described being forced into months of gruelling manual labour by traffickers upon his arrival in Libya. “If you try to run, they shoot you. If you stop working, they beat you. We were just like slaves. At the end of the day, they just lock you inside.”
The report is based on the testimonies of some 22,000 migrants and refugees, including some 11,000 children and youth, interviewed by IOM.
Međunarodna organizacija za migracije (IOM) BiH i Razvojni program Ujedinjenih nacija (UNDP) BiH u saradnji sa Ministarstvom za ljudska prava i izbjeglice Bosne i Hercegovine (MLJPI) i uz podršku Vlade Švajcarske trenutno sprovode projekat ‘’Dijaspora za razvoj’’. Jedna od aktivnosti ovog projekta je mapiranje dijaspore, istraživanje koje će se sprovesti u Austriji, Australiji, Danskoj, Njemačkoj, Italiji, Sloveniji, Švedskoj, Švajcarskoj, Holandiji i SAD-u, a koje će nam pomoći da dobijemo informacije o društveno - ekonomskom profilu bosanskohercegovačke dijaspore, uključujući demografske, sociološke, ekonomske i socio-kulturne podatke.
Na osnovu nalaza mapiranja dijaspore, pripremiće se niz preporuka koje će koristiti relevantni donosioci odluka i politika u BiH i zemljama odredišta kako bi se poboljšala interakcija i saradnja sa dijasporom iz BiH, razvile politike i uslovi koji će BiH dijaspori doprinos razvoju svoje zemlje učiniti privlačnim i povoljnim.
Interview with Mr. Peter van der Auweraert, IOM Sub-regional Coordinator for the Western Balkans, 02/02/2017
On 8 November 2016, the IOM Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina welcomed almost 40 guests from international organizations, local embassies, state authorities and NGOs to mark the end of the project ‘Establishment of an Early Warning Information Sharing Network along the Migration Route from Greece to Hungary and Croatia’, funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration.