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

  • Call for expression of interest for all interested media agencies specialized in digital/social media marketing


    Call for expression of interest


    all interested media agencies specialized in digital/social media marketing

    for an



  • IOM’s Migration Response (as of September 2019)


    In 2018, with the support of the European Union (DG ECHO and DG NEAR), IOM opened four new Temporary Reception Centres in Una Sana Canton with the support of the Council of Europe Development Bank, IOM opened one new Temporary Reception Centre in Hadzici Municipality:

    Sedra Temporary Reception Centre in Cazin Municipality for families and vulnerable migrants opened in July 2018

    Usivak Temporary Reception Centre in Hadzici Municipality primarily for single men, but also for families and vulnerable migrants opened in October 2018.

    Bira Temporary Reception Centre in the City of Bihac, primarily for single men opened in October 2018

    Miral Temporary Reception Centre in Velika Kladusa Municipality primarily for single men opened in October 2018, with IOM supporting the site management from November 2018.

    Borici Temporary Reception Centre in City of Bihac, families and vulnerable migrants re-opened in December 2018 following complete renovation.


  • Zajednička izjava / Joint Statement


    Zajednička izjava povodom izvještaja o trenutnom prebacivanju migranata i izbjeglica, među njima i maloljetnika, na područje Vučjaka. UN u BiH snažno apeluje na vlasti da rade na pronalasku alternativnog smještaja


    17. oktobar 2019.

    Prema izvještavanju medija, 14. oktobra, nakon odluke Ministarstva unutrašnjih poslova Unsko-sanskog kantona,  nekoliko stotina migranata koji su boravili na javnim površinama u Bihaću su prisilno premješteni u Vučjak. Pored toga, objavljeno je da je lokalna policija pješice provela grupu od gotovo hiljadu ljudi na Vučjak.

    UN ponovo izražava veliku zabrinutost povodom trenutnog prebacivanja migranata i tražitelja azila na područje Vučjaka. Veliki sigurnosni i zdravstveni rizici na Vučjaku i dalje postoje, te lokacija nije u skladu sa međunarodnim humanitarnim standardima pa stoga nije adekvatna za smještanje ljudi. Ovi nedostaci su već istaknuti u zajedničkoj izjavi tima UN-a (14. juna 2019.) koja je data nakon odluke Gradskog vijeća grada Bihaća da se dislociraju migranti, uključujući i tražitelje azila, koji borave van prihvatnih centara na područje Vučjaka.          

    * * *

    Joint Statement on reports of on-going Relocation of Migrants and Refugees including minors to the Vucjak site. The UN in BiH strongly urges the authorities to act swiftly on alternate accommodation space


    17 October 2019

    According to media reports, on 14 October, after decision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Una-Sana Canton, hundreds of migrants residing in public areas in Bihac were forcibly transferred to Vucjak. In addition, it has been reported that a group of around 1,000 people were escorted to Vucjak on foot by the local police.

    The UN reiterates its grave concern over the on-going relocation of migrants, including asylum seekers, to the Vucjak site. Significant safety and health risks at Vucjak remain; and the location falls well short of international humanitarian standards.  It is thus unsuitable for the purpose of accommodating people.  These inadequacies were already highlighted in the UNCT Joint Statement dated 14 June 2019, which followed the decision of the Municipal Council of Bihac to relocate migrants, including asylum seekers, staying outside reception centers to the Vucjak site.




    (Sarajevo, 11. oktobar 2019. godine) - U sklopu projekta koji finansira Evropska unija “EU podrška upravljanju migracijama i granicom u BiH”, Peter Van der Auweraert, koordinator za Zapadni Balkan i šef misije IOM-a u Bosni i Hercegovini, uručio je Ministarstvu unutrašnjih poslova Unsko-sanskog kantona ključeve tri nova policijska kombija u vrijednosti od preko 160.000 konvertibilnih maraka.


    (Sarajevo, 11th October 2019) – Within the EU funded project 'EU Support to Migration and Border Management in BiH' Peter Van Der Auweraert, IOM Coordinator for the Western Balkans and Head of Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, handed over keys of three new police vans worth over BAM 160,000 to the Ministry of the Interior of the Una Sana Canton.




    Još jedna vrijedna donacija Evropske unije za MUP Unsko-sanskog kantona

    (Sarajevo, 02. oktobar 2019. godine) - U sklopu projekta koji finansira Evropska unija, Međunarodna organizacija za migracije (IOM) je danas uručila pripadnicima Ministarstva unutrašnjih poslova Unsko-sanskog kantona još jednu vrijednu donaciju u vidu opreme koja će biti od značaja u svakodnevnom obavljanju posla u zaštiti građana i migranata koji trenutno borave u kantonu.



    Another valuable donation from the European Union to the Ministry of Interior of Una-Sana Canton

    (Sarajevo, 1st October 2019) – Within the project 'EU Support to Migration and Border Management in BiH' the International Organization for Migration (IOM) donated equipment to the Ministry of Interior of Una-Sana Canton (USC) which will contribute to their day to day work in protecting the citizens and the migrants currently residing in the Canton.


Latest Vacancy

IOM Representative in BiH: The goal is provide additional accommodation for migrants


IOM is intensively dealing with the problems of irregular migration in BiH. Growing number of migrants is not only confirmed by statistics and numbers, but also by the scenes and sights on the streets and parks of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where one could see the increased presence of migrants.

Since the beginning of 2018 until 15 April, over 1000 migrants entered BiH, while in the first 3 months of this year we had 10 times more than in the same period last year.

Who are the migrants that are entering BiH? How many will actually cross the border in the coming period, while 50.000 migrants are stranded between the Greek islands and our country?

How to overcome the challenges of overburdened administration and lack of capacities when it comes to accommodation, but also human capacities?




Peter Duffy, Director of the USAID Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, met local coordinators of IOM in Prijedor


Peter Duffy, Director of the USAID Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, met today with a team of local coordinators of IOM in Prijedor. Within the official visit, they talked about what has been done so far in this city, the project of launching the Day Center for Children and Youth in Donja Ljubija was presented, which is in its final stage. There also discussed the projects whose implementation is under way – for extreme sports hall, construction of street workout park, and launching a unique Creative and Educational Center...



Call for expression of interest to join IOM mobile teams to monitor migration flows in BiH


Call for expression of interest to join IOM mobile teams to monitor migration flows in BiH

IOM is looking for interested candidates for monitoring and providing regular updates on the migration flows in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the areas around Brčko, Bijeljina, Zvornik, Višegrad, Rudo, Čajniče, Foča, Bileća, Trebinje, Bosansko Grahovo, Bihać and Velika Kladuša.

Hiring is subject to availability of funds.

Interested candidates are encouraged to send their CV and cover letter to before 10 April 2018.








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


European Antitrafficking Day


On the occasion the European Anti-Trafficking Day, the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina / Department for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Lara Foundation from Bijeljina, the RING Network and MFS-EMMAUS organized a press conference aiming at presenting the current situation, with the challenges to be confronted in preventing trafficking in persons, and the activities undertaken through cross-sectoral cooperation between relevant institutions and organizations in the fight against this phenomenon. The conference was held at the UN House in Sarajevo on October 18, 2018. The event was an opportunity to present the returns of the IOM’s regional project Enhancing Counter Trafficking in Crisis in the Western Balkans such as Analytical report on human trafficking in crisis situations in the Western BalkansGuidelines for work of regional monitoring teams for combating trafficking in human beings in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Facebook page #supportformigrants and Mobile App Support for Migrants.