Bosnia and Herzegovina + 10 more

Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNCT Operational Update of the Refugee/Migrant Situation, 1 - 30 June 2018

Situation Report
Originally published
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  • UNICEF, in cooperation with Save the Children and World Vision, established Child Friendly Spaces in the Refugee Reception Centre and in Bihać. Over 240 children benefit from services and activities.
  • ECHO pledged EUR 1.5 million for the most urgent needs of refugees and migrants in BiH. Further funding is under discussion with the EU – DG Near, the council of Europe Development Bank, and the Czech Government.
  • The humanitarian situation in UnaSana Canton is critical: the number of refugees and migrants continues to increase, living and sanitary conditions in informal settlements are deteriorating, and security issues are arising.

Key Indicators
- 7,652 detected arrivals (1 Jan – 30 June 2018)
- 147 unaccompanied and separated children identified (1 Jan – 30 June 2018)
- 3,838 people assisted with transport, food, NFIs, accommodation, and psychosocial counselling by UN agencies, 1 Jan – 30 June 2018

Operational Context

There have been over 7,600 detected refugee and migrant arrivals to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in 2018 to-date, compared to 218 in 2017. The majority arrive over land from Serbia and some from Montenegro in an irregular manner (i.e. at non-official border crossings). The number in need of humanitarian assistance at various locations throughout BiH continues to increase with manageable numbers in Sarajevo and large numbers in Una-Sana Canton (USC). The latter location is linked to increased attempts to enter Croatia. The UN in BiH continues to be concerned over reports previously received from police in Velika Kladuša regarding refugees and migrants who allege to have experienced violence and sustained physical injuries during unsuccessful attempts to cross the border due to violent deterrent measures used by Croatian police. Refugee and migrant profiling exercises in June identified further cases and the UN continues to monitor the situation.

The state-managed Asylum Centre (AC) in Trnovo and Refugee Reception Centre (RRC) in Salakovac are both at high capacity levels. Nevertheless, despite space for a limited number of new asylum seekers, due to remoteness and limited transport links to and from the two centers, many sleep on the streets, in abandoned buildings in Sarajevo without adequate shelter, sanitation, food, or medical care, while some are assisted by volunteers. Without accommodation they also lack the ability to register their residence, a key step to accessing the asylum procedure, as well as for accessing rights and services.

Humanitarian needs are particularly critical in USC where the daily influx of refugees and migrants is estimated to be between 70 and 90: it is estimated that there are now over 3,500 refugees and migrants in USC. Informal settlements have been established in Borići (Bihać) and Velika Kladuša as a stop gap measure; the living and sanitary conditions in these informal settlements are deteriorating and the first security issues have arisen. On June 15th, a Moroccan citizen was stabbed to death, and few days later, between 50 and 100 people were stopped by the BiH police while attempting to march towards Croatia through the border crossing point of Maljevac, near Velika Kladuša. The Una-Sana Ministry of Interior approved the deployment 24/7 of police patrols in both Borići and Velika Kladuša informal settlements, improving the security of the sites.

The Government of BiH has identified the facilities of Ušivak (Hadžići municipality, Sarajevo Canton) and Agrokomerc (Velika Kladuša municipality, USC) for the establishment of transit/reception centres for refugees and migrants – a related decision was published in the official gazette on June 20th – and ongoing discussions are taking place between the government, potential donors, and UN organizations regarding the set-up.

In June, a number of new actors engaged in the humanitarian response: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), Save the Children, World Vision, Emmaus, and SOS Children’s Villages. Further, ECHO pledged EUR 1.5 million to respond to the most urgent needs of refugees and migrants in BiH. Further funding for the response to the current situation is under discussion with the EU - DG Near, the Council of Europe Development Bank, and the Czech Government.