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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  • 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.          

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    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

Signed a EUR 1 million grant agreement for the opening of a reception center in Hadzici, Sarajevo


The response to the migrant situation in BiH is being stepped up as the CEB Vice Governor and IOM Chief of Mission signed a EUR 1 million grant agreement for the opening of a reception center in Hadzici, Sarajevo. CEB Vice Governor, Rosa-Maria Sanchez Yebra, visited the center, which will host up to 400 persons.




What are the challenges facing Bosnia and Herzegovina presently and in the coming period? - TV1


Peter Van Der Auweraert, IOM Representative in BiH and Western Balkans Sub-regional Coordinator, Mijo Kresic, Deputy Minister of Security of BiH and Nedzad Korajlic, Dean of the Faculty of Criminalistics, Criminology and Security Studies of the University of Sarajevo spoke about this issue for TV1.




UN Migration Agency Statement on International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT)


In a world where more than a third of countries criminalize consensual same-sex relationships, disclosing your gender identity and sexual orientation can be extremely dangerous. For internally displaced members of the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) community, it can also cripple livelihoods and even be life-threatening.

The injustice that the LGBTI community faces in non-emergency settings does not simply disappear in times of crisis or when people become displaced, in fact, it is usually amplified.

LGBTI internally displaced persons face complex challenges and threats during all stages of displacement. These include discrimination, prejudice, violence, difficulty accessing humanitarian services and barriers to articulating their protection needs.


The migrant confession about the smuggling from Montenegro (N1)


Peter Van der Auweraert, the Western Balkans Sub-regional Coordinator of the International Organization for Migration pointed out that smugglers from BiH are often part of the international criminal networks:

“Large majority of immigrants in BiH used smugglers at one point. If they didn’t, such journeys would not be possible to organize. It is hard to detect the smugglers, due to the fact that most of the smugglers routes are international ones. Those are not necessarily the routes of Bosnia, Albania, Montenegro. They are international.”



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.

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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.



Conference "Psychological Support in the Security Sector" organized by IOM in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Conference on the topic of Psychological Support in the Security Sector, organized by IOM in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is being held within the project PREVENTIVA, at the UN House on 27 February 2018. Numerous security sector representatives have the opportunity to gain insights into professional and peer psychological support provided to security professionals in their everyday duties.



The projects "Cycling to Health" and "Youth Corner" presented by youth from Gornji Rahic and Maoca

The projects "Cycling to Health" and "Youth Corner" youth from Gornji Rahic and Maoca presented to project committee last weekend. Guided by the fact that youth is turning to technology rather than sports, as well as lack of space for socializing, youth will strive to improve their position in the community through these two projects. 


The third MoviEQ workshop held in Novi Grad Sarajevo

Youth from the local communities of Sokolje and Zabrdje (Novi Grad Sarajevo) participated in the third MoviEQ workshop and through interesting content they had opportunity to acquire new skills of emotional intelligence and increase their level of integrative complexity, more complex view of the world. Throughout a four-day workshop, youth applied the techniques of active listening and conflict resolution, made video clips about conflicting sides, and to see the responsibility of the media in highlighting differences among various groups. The workshop ended thirteen participants and they received Cambridge University certificates.