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Refugees Magazine Issue 101 (Asylum in Europe) - Summer of sadness

Refugees Magazine, 1 September 1995

The misery goes on in former Yugoslavia, where more than 350,000 people were driven from their homes between July and mid-September.

Another summer of war caused untold misery and forced at least 350,000 more people to flee their homes in former Yugoslavia between July and mid-September. They joined the more than 3.6 million people already displaced within the region, and at least 500,000 others scattered across Europe. In all, more than 3.5 million people are now receiving some kind of assistance in former Yugoslavia through the UNHCR-led humanitarian aid programme.

The large-scale movements began in early July when Bosnian Serb forces overran the government enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa and expelled all of their residents. Many atrocities were reported. Some 36,000 people eventually made it to government territory around Tuzla and Zenica, where UNHCR, UNPROFOR, various NGOs and local authorities provided assistance. But, by mid-September, thousands of men from Srebrenica remained unaccounted for.

In late July, Bosnian Croat and Croatian forces captured the Bosnian Serb-held towns of Glamoc and Grahovo, forcing some 14,000 people to flee to other areas of northern Bosnia. Again, UNHCR and other agencies were on hand to help.

On the morning of 4 August, the Croatian army launched an attack that eventually forced more than 180,000 Croatian Serbs to flee their homes in the Krajina region in the war's largest single exodus. Nearly all of them fled across northern Bosnia to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. UNHCR launched an emergency airlift to Belgrade and sent more convoys to Serbia to help the tens of thousands of new arrivals.

In mid-September, an estimated 100,000 more Bosnian Serbs were displaced by fighting in north-west Bosnia. They fled toward the city of Banja Luka, where some 20,000 minority Muslims and Croats were expelled in August and September.

Source: Refugees Magazine Issue 101 (1995)




UNHCR country pages

Angelina Jolie in Bosnia

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie met with forcibly displaced people on April 5, 2010 during her first visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The actress, accompanied by her partner Brad Pitt, called for steps to end the continued suffering of these victims of the Bosnian War after hearing their harrowing tales and seeing their grim living conditions.

Jolie was clearly moved by the spirit - and the ordeal - of the people she met and she pledged to highlight their case. Most of the people she talked to have been living in exile since the end of the 1992-1995 conflict. Jolie visited collective centres in the towns of Gorazde and Rogatica, where the inhabitants lack basic services such as running water.

The actress spent some time with a group of women who were raped or tortured during the war. Their tales left a deep impression on her. She also met a family of refugee returnees who were still waiting to move into their village home near the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad.

Angelina Jolie in Bosnia

Serbia: Europe's forgotten refugees

A study of the lives of three Europeans who have been living as refugees in Serbia for more than 15 years.

Serbia is the only European country with a protracted refugee population. More than 90,000 refugees from Croatia and from Bosnia and Herzegovina remain there, victims of wars that erupted after the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in 1991.

These long-term refugees live under appalling conditions in dingy apartments and overcrowded collective centres – the nearest thing to refugee camps in modern Europe.

This set of pictures tells the story of three displaced people, the problems they face and their hopes for the future.

Serbia: Europe's forgotten refugees

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