Two decades later, Bosnia still burdened with war refugees

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) continues to be among those countries faced with the huge problem of refugees even though the war ended more than  twenty years ago, government officials and non-government organisations dealing with the refugee status warned on Monday.

Marking World Refugee Day - June 20 - regional coordinator of the UN High Commissioner's for Refugees, UNHCR representative in BiH Andrew Mayne said that the Dayton agreement which led to the end of the war in that country cannot be considered a success until that time that Annex VII is implemented which refers to the right to everyone to return to their pre-war homes.

Two decades after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina ended there are still 98,000 people with refugee status in the country and another 30,000 who live abroad.

We have to be in a position to help those people who are most threatened and that mustn't last too long, Mayne said.

Minister for Human Rights and Refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina Smiha Borovac said that all relevant state bodies are doing everything they can to resolve the issue of refugees and displaced persons, stressing however that without international support that continued to be a mission impossible.

She recalled  that based on joint plans a regional process would be initiated which should ensure the return of 5,400 families currently living in Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"We've opted for intensive construction works which should transform Bosnia and Herzegovina this year and next into a huge construction site and provide 1,800 new homes," Borovac said.

It is estimated that the 1990s war forced almost half the country's population to leave their homes.

Of the two million people forced to leave their homes, approximately 1.1 million have managed to return to their pre-war homes. About 700,000 former residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina have decided to permanently emigrate.

Last update: Mon, 20/06/2016 - 19:26

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