As it is possible to read in newspapers and on various web portals, the number of refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina is rising.
The refugees currently in Bosnia are casualties of the local social and political context. They are facing the fear of not knowing what’s going to happen with them, often with no or limited access to the basic hygiene, food and water.
International organizations are limited in their work as their actions often can be interpreted as a political agenda. That is unacceptable, since they have the mandate to help refugees. It is necessary to approach this vulnerable group carefully and find the best way to help them go through this situation. With the local elections in sight, the campaigns are using refugees as play-toys and leverage for political power.
In order to help the refugees in this situation after consulting with analysts, politicians, and representatives of international organizations, we have been advised to get involved independently. With that in mind, we have established a new organization under the name ‘Hands of Hope Bosnia and Herzegovin’.
Hands of Hope is a sister organization of Croatian Baptist Aid which provides training to local churches and NGOs. Hands of Hope will be officially registered in the coming days. Through this organization we want to neutrally and objectively provide help to refugees, and help the government see what is important and how they can help. At the same time we want to offer local churches and NGOs the opportunity to be actively and constructively involved in this work.
This situation is way above our means, but we believe that together with your prayers and active involvement, we can help the 3000 people currently in Bosnia.
If you would like to send a team to help, please write to Elvis Dzafic at: [email protected]
Visit the website of Croatian Baptist Aid
On June 8, in Sarajevo the Refugee Response Cluster Group had its second meeting. Representatives of local Protestant churches and faith-based NGOs discussed the current situation. Actions point has been drown. An important suggestion was drafting a document that will present the future joint actions of the RRCG to the public and government institutions. The document will also suggest ways in which the Bosnian government can formally cooperate with Protestant churches and NGOs, in the refugee work, but also other areas such as community development.
Humanitarian profile – the most vulnerable group is the refugees located in abandoned buildings and on the streets, who don’t have access to water, food clothes and adequate hygiene. They are prone to illnesses and the consequence is a higher mortality rate, especially during winter. Their relocation and movement is also made more dangerous by various unmarked minefields around Bosnia. Due to the limited capacity of state asylum centers, refugees are forced to find accommodation elsewhere, so they are spreading around in groups, making it difficult to provide needed assistance. Due to the bad economic situation in Bosnia, there is great danger of smuggling and taking advantage of refugees.
WASH and nutrition – Refugees do not have access to clean water in places they are habituating. Outside of the asylum center, which is able to accommodate only a limited number of people, there isn’t many options for refugees, so they resort to using café restrooms and public restrooms. Refugees don’t have access to proper sanitation. In asylum centers, refugees are provided with medical care and nutritive foods, but outside of those centers there is no assistance provided for most of the refugees. NGOs are providing food for those outside of asylum centers, but their capacities are limited, and they can only provide certain types of foods.
The number of illegal crossings into the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina from January 1st until April 15th is 2240 citizens from countries of high migration risk.
The number of prevented crossings on the borders between B&H and Serbia is 730 persons. Places of crossings into the B&H territory according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the largest number of illegal crossings is in the area of Trebinje, Višegrad, Zvornik, Bratunac, Gacka, Velika Kladuša, Bijeljina and Bihać. A smaller number has been detected around Brčko, Foča, Posušje and Čapljina.
Situation in Sarajevo
The number of migrants in Sarajevo since January 1st until May18th is somewhere between 300-500, mostly consisting of persons returned there due to failed attempts to cross into western European countries and persons crossing from Serbia and Montenegro.
Structure of the migrant population
The migrant population in B&H consists mostly of Syrians, Pakistanis, Libyans,Eritreans , Moroccans, Turks, Ukrainians.
FOR MORE INFORMATION READ:
- Bosnia & Herzegovina Refugee Crisis Appeal
- Hands of Hope Sarajevo
- new article on migration and refugee situation in Bosnia: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-bosnia/bosnia-struggles-to-cope-with-arrival-of-thousands-of-migrants-idUSKCN1IG1LS