Bosnia and Herzegovina
Since mid-2018, the route via Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) became one of the most travelled mixed migration routes in the Western Balkans and by June 2019, authorities in BiH have detected more than 34,900 arrivals to the country. Transit corridors from Bulgaria/North Macedonia and Serbia, as well as through Albania and Montenegro merge in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Strict border controls by Croatian border police severely limit the possibilities for onward movement and as reception capacities in BiH are limited there are critical needs for direct humanitarian assistance.
The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) decided to re-open its office in the country in late July 2018, with main office in Sarajevo and a field office in Bihać (Una-Sana canton) with activities implemented in Una-Sana, Herzegovina-Neretva, Sarajevo and Tuzla cantons, aiming at supporting the BiH authorities in managing increased migration flows and corresponding challenges in the country.
Programmatically DRC with the support of ECHO, UNHCR and UNICEF focuses on two main sectors of intervention:
- Protection and advocacy on behalf of persons of concern
- Health assistance through support to direct health care responders
More specifically, DRC in BiH focuses on improving access to primary and secondary health care including psychosocial and mental health services to refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, as well as on enhancing the overall protective environment, with a focus on case management in SGBV (Sexual and Gender Based Violence) and timely outreach protection response to rights violations in border areas.
Main partners and donors of DRC in BiH are:
- European Commission Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO)
- Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
- United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
DRC works with the support of the BiH Federal Ministry of Health and the Ministries of Health, Labor and Social Policy of the Una-Sana, Sarajevo and Herzegovina-Neretva cantons, with direct engagement with health institutions at cantonal and local level. Cooperation is maintained with other relevant Ministries, UN agencies, international and local organizations and actors.
DRC has been working in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1992 and closed its office in the country at the end of January 2010 after 18 years. BiH was one of the first international operations in DRC’s history and one that has profiled DRC as an international humanitarian responder. At the time of the closure of the DRC mission in BiH in 2010, it was decided that the authorities and local NGOs would take over DRC’s work.