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Mixed migration in the Western Balkans

Western Balkans

Countries in the Western Balkans region continue to struggle with the consequences of the massive forced population movements within the region of the early 1990s. But in recent years increasing numbers of people, including refugees, have been coming through the region from Asia, Africa and the Middle East en route to Western Europe. Some have remained in the area. The nascent legislation, asylum systems and migration policies in Western Balkans countries are not sufficiently equipped to deal with this development.

UNHCR, in cooperation with IOM, supports governments in developing an initiative on refugee protection and international migration that helps governments in the region to develop and implement comprehensive migration and asylum management systems. It is guided by a 10-Point Plan issued by UNHCR in 2006 to assist states in developing comprehensive and protection-sensitive asylum and migration strategies.

In the Western Balkans, it will strengthen the capacity of governments to address these mixed migration movements in a more predictable, efficient and protection-sensitive manner, while also fostering national and regional dialogue and practical cooperation.

One of the initiative's priority areas is the establishment of protection-sensitive entry systems. This involves mechanisms to differentiate among various groups of people on the move, identify those in need of international protection, and provide adequate assistance and solutions to other groups with specific needs, such as victims of people trafficking, unaccompanied children or women at risk of violence.