News 27 Dec 17

Bosnia ‘Still Struggling’ to Resolve Refugee Problem

There are still almost 100,000 war-displaced people in the country, thousands of them without homes and living in desperate poverty, says new research by a Bosnian NGO and the UN refugee agency.

Mladen Lakic
BIRN
Sarajevo
Sarajevo. Photo: Michal Huniewicz /Wikicommons.

A total of 98,578 people living in Bosnia and Herzegovina still have the status of displaced persons and a further 20,000 are registered as refugees living outside the country, the Union for Sustainable Return and Integration in Bosnia and Herzegovina NGO told a press conference on Wednesday.

Research conducted by the NGO with the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, also shows that 22 years after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina ended, 7,500 people are still living in more than 100 ‘collective centres’ – temporary accommodation provided by the state for those waiting to be assigned homes.

The authorities have promised to resolve their situation by the end of 2020.

“In the past two years, with the UNHCR, we have done research all over Bosnia, we have visited around 5,000 refugees and displaced families and most of them are unemployed, living under the poverty line,” said Mirhunisa Zukic, director and founder of the Union for Sustainable Return and Integration.

Out of 2.2 million people who left the country during the 1992-95 war, 1,025,011 have returned.

The great majority, 72 per cent, went back to the Federation, the country’s Bosniak- and Croat-dominated entity.

Around 26 per cent returned to Republika Srpska, the Serb-dominated entity, and two per cent to the Brcko District.

During the process, 327,000 houses have been rebuilt or renovated.

However, around 3,000 of these houses still don’t have electricity, and 10,657 displaced persons or returnees do not have any health insurance.

The Union for Sustainable Return and Integration also noted that 2.3 per cent of the country is still contaminated with landmines.

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