Asylum-Seekers and Refugees

Together with the authorities and civil society, UNHCR works in priority to improve the BiH asylum system in the following areas:

  • Ensuring effective identification and referral of asylum-seekers, respecting procedural safeguards, aligning use of detention with international standards and considering use of alternatives instead;
  • Ensuring adequate reception conditions to vulnerable categories of asylum-seekers, including children;
  • Improving refugee status determination procedure and judicial reviews of asylum cases;
  • Realizing the rights of asylum-seekers and refugees in the area of healthcare;
  • Strengthening local integration for those granted international protection, including naturalization of refugees;

People Lacking Proof of Nationality and at Risk of Statelessness

The identification, prevention and reduction of statelessness in BiH primarily requires the following:

  • Reinforcing the capacity of lower level authorities to identify people at risk of statelessness and refer them to appropriate services, including free legal aid and civil registration;
  • Strengthening free legal aid system to ensure services are provided to people at risk of statelessness;
  • Training administrative officials involved in birth and citizenship registration procedures;
  • Improving legislation with regards to registration of residence;
  • Improving remaining weaknesses in birth registration legislation in Federation of BiH;
  • Ensuring that all children are registered immediately at birth;

Internally Displaced People (IDPs), Returnees, and Refugees from the former Yugoslavia

Much was done since the end of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina to enable returnees and IDPs to live in peace and dignity in their residence of choice. However, more than two decades since the signing of the DPA, numerous obstacles continue to prevent a large number of displaced people from exercising their right to, among others, health care, social protection, and adequate housing. As a result, a substantial percentage of those live in conditions of vulnerability.

In order to promote systemic change and improve access to human rights for IDPs and returnees, coordination of provision of assistance based on timely and accurate knowledge of individual needs and harmonisation of relevant legal and social framework are key.

Taking an evidence-based approach and with proper impact analysis the BiH authorities can positively impact the lives of IDPs and returnees in many areas by also using the EU accession process as political framework in adopting reforms. Many parts of the acquis communautaire target areas directly relevant to enable better access to rights by vulnerable categories.