News 26 Jan 16

Bosnia to Build Houses for 438 Refugee Families

The Bosnian state ministry for refugees launched a project worth more than 15 million euros to ensure housing for 438 families left without a permanent home since the 1990s conflict.

Denis Dzidic
BIRN
Sarajevo
Semiha Borovac (left)at the signing ceremony.
Photo: Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees.

Minister for human rights and refugees Semina Borovac signed an agreement in Sarajevo on Tuesday with the ministers of the country’s two political entities and 19 mayors to start construction on houses for 438 families.

Borovac said that these families were among the most vulnerable in Bosnian society.

“They have been waiting for a roof above their heads for over 20 years,” she said.

“The municipalities and entity ministries will have to do a lot of work and we will set clear deadlines for implementation,” she added.

The 15 million euro construction is part of a regional housing project backed by funds of 583 million euro which was raised at a donors’ conference in Sarajevo in 2012 organised jointly by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro.

The project aims to resolve the housing problems of 27,000 refuge families in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia. During the 1990s war, more than half the population of Bosnia - around 2.2 million people - were displaced or become refugees.

Sarajevo government statistics say that Bosnia still has around 10,000 refugees and internally displaced people.

The head of the Bosnian OSCE mission Jonathan Moore said the regional housing project was a “good example of political cooperation to close the chapter of displaced persons”.

“This part of the project will help 338 internally displaced persons now living in collective centres and 100 refugees from Croatia,” said Moore.

The regional housing project is intended to provide housing for more than 5,400 refugee families in Bosnia and Herzegovina - a total of 14,000 people.

Construction will start in the spring and is expected to be finished by the year’s end.

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