IOM’s vision, in line with the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus, is to work through a whole-of-society and a whole-of-government approach to contribute to a safe, prosperous, and resilient Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) by addressing the humanitarian needs of transiting migrants while supporting longer-term solutions, peace and social cohesion. IOM will continue to support the government of BiH to effectively manage functioning migrant reception, protection, and other assistance to meet the challenges of an increasing number of migrants transiting the country and contribute to ensuring their dignity, safety, and security. Furthermore, IOM will work with communities and the government to build social cohesion, preparedness for disasters, and resilience to drivers of instability in order to address negative drivers of emigration and prevent displacement.
Comprising a diverse group of people including asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in search of a better life, the mixed migratory flows in the Western Balkans constitute approximately 30 per cent of all irregular entries into the European Union (EU) in 2022 so far. Arrivals by the end of November 2022 were above 23,000, already surpassing the number of total yearly arrivals for all of 2021. Migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) are primarily coming from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burundi, and are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking, exploitation and abuse, with at least 1 in 10 migrants being children. Many migrants transiting through BiH elect to stay outside of reception centres, exposing them to increased protection risks.
The presence of migrants is only one of several sources of tension in BiH communities, with precarious relations existing between migrant populations and host communities. More than 25 years after the end of the war, BiH continues to face unresolved war legacies. Divisive narratives and hate speech are on the rise in the country alongside the rise of small extremist groups including those espousing violence as a means of furthering their aims. Persistent tensions and unaddressed challenges between groups remain. Political tensions have increased since 2021, with one of BiH’s federal entities threatening withdrawal from State institutions, raising concerns over peace and stability in the country.
Additionally, BiH is at high risk of disasters. The nexus between migration, environment and climate change is multidimensional, and includes disaster risks such as flooding, wildfires, droughts, and long-term effects such as multi-year dry and hot summers leading to crop failures and health issues, chronic illness due to pollution, etc. In terms of displacement potential, the country is especially at risk of flooding, with an estimated 260,000 people at risk, wildfires, and crop failure, which increase the risk of displacement.
Source: International Organization for Migration