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As of August 2021, Serbia hosts 5,051 refugees and persons under other forms of international protection coming from over 50 countries. Most of them are accommodated in operational governmental centres across the country and mainly come from Afghanistan, Syria and Bangladesh.

Faced with a growing number of asylum-seekers from Eastern Europe, Africa and the neighbouring countries in the early 1970s, the then Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia invited UNHCR to establish an operation in the country. The office has been based in Belgrade since 1976.

UNHCR assisted to mandate refugees until the violent dissolution of former Yugoslavia in the 1990s when more than 550,000 refugees arrived in Serbia from the former Yugoslav republics. In 1999, more than 200,000 internally displaced persons fled to central Serbia from Kosovo.

During the 2015 European refugee crisis, UNHCR supported the Republic of Serbia in addressing over one million refugees' protection and humanitarian needs, mainly from Syria. After the lifting of the emergency in late 2016, UNHCR's assistance adapted to respond to the changed needs of refugees and asylum-seekers.

Additional information

For information about our work in Serbia:


Are you a refugee or asylum-seeker in Serbia? Find information about your rights and available services on our HELP site.

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Serbia website

Visit the UNHCR Serbia website for more information on our work in the area and the latest local news and stories. 

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Legislation and guidance

For legislation, case law and UNHCR policy relating to claims for international protection, visit Refworld.

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