news 21 Jun 12

Sarajevo Marks Refugee Day With Exhibition

An exhibition of photographs of Bosnian refugees opened in the capital on June 20, marking World Refugee Day.

Elvira Jukic


World Refugee Day exhibition in Sarajevo / Photo by Elvira Jukic

World Refugee Day was marked in Sarajevo with the opening of an exhibition in the Bosnian Art Gallery of works by prize-winning photographer Greg Marinovich, taken in various towns and villages in Bosnia where refugees live.

The UNHCR representative to Bosnia, Andrew Mayne, who opened the exhibition, called "Protection, a human right", said World Refugee Day was a call for action, because people need such protection in many parts of the world.

"World Refugee Day is a call for action, a reminder to all of us that we too can help to protect people who need it,” Mayne said. “It reminds us of our close partnerships and of the sharing of responsibilities.”

Bosnia's Refugee Minister, Damir Ljubic, said that Bosnia still has a large number of displaced persons and refugees as a consequence of the 1992-5 war.

“There are some 170,000 refugees, many of whom are internally displaced persons, who are extremely vulnerable and we have to find funds to help them,” he said.

He added that almost the half of the population in Bosnia had been forced to move during the war. Today, around a million of them had never returned and are not living in their pre-war homes, having integrated somewhere else, left the country, or who are living in temporary homes.

“Returns will contribute to stability, not only in the country, but also in the region,” Ljubic added. “These photos remind us that we have to try to carry on in our job.”

Seventeen years after the war ended there are still around 100 collective settlements in Bosnia, even though returns started in earnest about ten years ago, since when at least 100,000 people have returned to their homes.

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