Bosnia and Herzegovina: Population movement - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF n° MDRBA010

A. Situation Analysis

Description of the disaster

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) received a small number of migrants between 2015 and 2017; however, since the beginning of 2018, the country has been experiencing a significant increase in the numbers of new arrivals. Most of the migrants come from Pakistan, Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq, followed by Libya, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Algeria and Morocco. They arrive in BiH via two different routes: one is via Turkey, Greece, Albania and Montenegro; and the other one is via Turkey, Greece, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia or Bulgaria, and Serbia. The entry points to BiH are in the areas of Trebinje, Foča and Višegrad in Republic of Srpska (RS) and Goražde in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH). The majority of these people move towards Sarajevo and Una-Sana canton, trying to enter the EU through Croatia.

From January to May 2018, the Ministry of Security of BiH registered 5,664 people. Since then, the number of migrants in the country has continued to rise rapidly, reaching between 70 and 100 entries per day. After being registered, almost all migrants declare an intention to seek asylum, after which they are free to stay legally in the country for 14 days. Out of the 5,664 people registered, 5,065 declared an intention to seek asylum, but less than 500 actually applied for it. This means that most of the migrants do not intend to stay in the country, but plan to move further to the EU countries. Given their free movement in the country, it is not known how many of them finally leave the country and after how long of a period of stay. The figure on the following page displays the increasing trend in the number of migrants entering the country in the first half of 2018.

Government institutions of BiH, which are mandated by the law to address mass migration, have started the organized response only recently. The initial lack of an organized and systematic response has resulted in an ad-hoc response in many of the hot-spots. As a result, dozens of people have had to sleep rough, unable to meet basic needs such as food, water, hygiene and sanitation.

In the past four weeks, the Council of Ministers has started to act pro-actively, aiming to provide systematic solutions. It mandated the national Coordination Body for Migration to be activated in full capacity and to undertake activities in response to the increased number of migrants in country. The Council of Ministers expects the Border Police to prevent illegal entries. However, migrants, who have entered so far, or will manage to enter BiH despite the tightened border control, will get assistance. The authorities are in the process of identifying new locations for their accommodation in order to be cared for in a humane and dignified manner.