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.
IOM’s Migration Response
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.
In these centres, supported by the European Union, IOM is providing for the basic needs of migrants, including food, hygiene products, clothes for those with skin diseases, water, sanitation and hygiene facilities (toilets and showers), 24/7 IOM centre management staff, and 24/7 cleaning, maintenance and security personnel.
IOM is also responsible for CCCM - Centre Coordination and Centre Management, in support of and in close cooperation with the Service for Foreigners’ Affairs (the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina).