In the context of the increased number of irregular migrants transiting through the country since the end of 2017, and of persons seeking asylum, IOM seeks to support the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to effectively manage a functioning reception system that is in line with international standards and that provides living conditions at an acceptable standard, where the dignity of those accommodated is maintained and their basic needs met.
Migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including asylum seekers and refugees, and those in vulnerable situations such as unaccompanied migrant children, single women, pregnant women, and potential victims of trafficking. While this depends on many factors, around 60-80 per cent are expected to be single men and 20-40 per cent families with children and unaccompanied migrant children. The top countries of origin are expected to be among Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and countries from North Africa.
Since the beginning of 2018, IOM, together with UNHCR, has led the response on behalf of the UN in BiH in light of the mixed refugee/asylum seeker and migrant profile of those in need of assistance, and in support of the responsible BiH institutions.
At the level of the BiH State Authorities, the Ministries in charge of accommodation for the migrants and refugees/asylum seekers in the country are the Ministry of Security through the Service for Foreigners Affairs, the Sector for Asylum and the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees.
IOM supports the BiH State authorities in Centre Coordination and Centre Management (CCCM), including in (1) administration of centres; (2) coordination of centres; and (3) management of centres.
IOM, together with UNHCR, supports the coordination of all reception centres in BiH. This role involves overall strategic and inter-centre operational coordination, covering issues such as setting strategy, setting standards, contingency planning, information management, and coordinating the placement of migrants in reception centres, in a protection-sensitive manner.
In support of the BiH authorities who are currently leading/will be leading the direct management of each centre, IOM supports the management of the five temporary reception centres, including the deployment of dedicated CCCM (centre managers, centre administrators and registration and centre assistants), cultural mediators, and security personnel present 24/7.
IOM CCCM staff organize weekly CCCM meetings with the participation of all partners and service providers present in the centre to enhance the coordination within each centre. IOM CCCM staff also work to increase the participation and accentuality of the migrant population and has together with partners established community structures, complaint and feedback mechanisms, as well as centre-specific standard operating procedures for a more predictable and transparent response.
In these roles, IOM works closely with UNHCR, UNICEF and the Danish Refugee Council, mainstreaming mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) in CCCM and the general humanitarian response. IOM CCCM staff refer migrants in need of protection and health services, including MHPSS services/activities.
IOM, together with the implementing partners Red Cross and the local NGO Pomozi.ba, provide food for migrants and asylum seekers accommodated in Borici, Bira, Miral, Salakovac, Sedra and Ušivak reception centres, as well as in the newly established accommodation site in Blazuj. IOM supports the preparation and distribution of three meals per day – breakfast, lunch and dinner – and two snacks according to set standard menus that ensure sufficient nutritional value and daily calorie intake.
IOM also supports the running and maintenance of ‘open kitchens’ in the temporary reception centres allowing migrants and asylum seekers to cook their own food.
While UNICEF and its implementing partners are operating Mother and Baby Corners, advising on nutrition and provision of age-appropriate food to children as well as screening all children aged 6-59 months for undernutrition, IOM will be providing complementary food and nutrition to children, in cases where mothers are unable to breastfeed, or children/infants, or mothers, for other reasons are in need of complementary food/nutrition.
In the five temporary reception centres and in the newly opened migrant accommodation site, which host up to 6,000 migrants and asylum seekers per day, IOM provides basic water, sanitation and hygiene services. This includes safe drinking water, either through connection to the public water supply or through water cistern/tanks and the provision of toilets and showers in accordance to minimum standards (SPHERE/EASO Guidance on reception conditions, operational standards and indicators), separated by gender and with adapted facilities for persons with disabilities.
In temporary reception centres, IOM with partners, and with the participation of migrants and asylum seekers operate a laundry system allowing the centre population to wash their personal belongings.
In addition to the state-managed Refugee Reception Centre Salakovac and the Asylum Reception Centre Delijas, IOM provides safe, dignified and secure shelter to migrants and asylum seekers in five temporary reception centres. In late 2019, with support from the European Union and in collaboration with the German Federal Civil Protection Agency, IOM opened an additional sixth accommodation site in Blazuj, Sarajevo Canton.
With a total capacity of around 4,500 beds, and with an estimated migrant population of up to 8,500 at any given time, there is an urgent need to increase the country's accommodation capacity to offer safe, dignified and secure shelter to migrants. This can be achieved either through a significant expansion of the existing temporary reception centres, but preferably through the opening of new sites, or both.
The expansion of the current six temporary reception centres would require reconstructions works, and an upscaling of existing infrastructure, in particular with electricity/heating. The opening of a new site, depending on the conditions, would at a minimum require interior/furniture and the activation/re-connection of basic infrastructure for electricity, water supply, gas, sewage, etc.
Migrants and asylum seekers, both those within and those residing outside temporary reception centres, are in need of cultural, gender and age-sensitive non-food items (NFIs), including hygiene/dignity/women kits, clothes and other necessities, including winter clothes (jackets, raincoats, hats, and gloves) and additional blankets and sleeping bags during winter. While IOM and partners receive donations with NFIs, these are on an ad-hoc basis, and this sector remains largely underfunded for 2020.
To improve the understanding of migrants’ profiles in BiH and the Western Balkans region, IOM aims to continue rolling out its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) methodology. Since 2015, the DTM regional team collects information on newly arrived migrants and refugees registered by the authorities or counted by IOM field colleagues. To better understand the capacities and the changing situation in the country, DTM initiated the collection of data in mid-2016 related to occupancy and capacity rates in the reception centres providing humanitarian community and interested public with information on the gaps in the reception systems and responses. Dispersed movements in the Western Balkan region and limited availability of data on irregular border crossings represented a challenge in tracking new arrivals in some of the countries. Available information from the field indicated that most of the migrants seek assistance in the reception centres, therefore this challenge was solved by tracking the number of newly arrived migrants in the facilities or unofficial sites - which was then taken as a reliable proxy for estimates on the velocity of population movements.
- Increase capacity of IOM field staff and national level counterparts to carry out site assessments (data collection and regular reporting);
- Capacity building for country offices to increase information management capacities for gathering timely data on migrants needs and subsequently ensure a better link between findings and operational response;
- Comprehensive analysis of trends of migrants profiles, vulnerabilities and needs, such as vulnerability to human trafficking and other exploitative practices, and mental health and psychosocial support needs.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Figures are as of 31 December 2019. For more details of IOM's operational capacity in country, please see the IOM Capacity section.