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Bosnia and Herzegovina: Re-registration shows substantial drop in IDP numbers

Briefing notes

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Re-registration shows substantial drop in IDP numbers

15 April 2005

The authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina are today releasing the preliminary results of a major re-registration of internally displaced people (IDPs) in the country. It shows a substantial drop in the numbers since the last re-registration took place in 2000.

In all, the number has decreased by around two-thirds from the 2000 figure of more than half a million, to the new total of 186,500 internally displaced people. This is also a considerably lower total than the last UNHCR estimate at the end of 2004, which projected that there were still around 310,000 internally displaced people in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

While this drop is partly accounted for by the known return of some 210,000 people to their homes in their pre-war places of residence during this period, the figures also reveal that a further 120,000 people decided not to re-register as displaced this time round. This is presumably for the most part because they have in the meantime found a solution, either by returning to their pre-war homes or by integrating into the communities where they have been living for the past decade.

The task for the authorities now will be to process the applications and determine the true needs of those who are still displaced in Bosnia and Herzegovina, almost ten years after the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement. Once this is done, we should have a much clearer picture of the outstanding needs, and the authorities will be in a better position to target the limited funds available for those among the 60,000 or so families who are still in need of assistance.

A re-registration of refugees - mostly from Croatia - was carried out in parallel to the IDP re-registration. The data from this exercise is still being processed and will be announced separately.