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)