According to the Union for Sustainable Return and Integration in BiH, around 80.000 people left BiH in just two years. Director of this association Mirhunisa Zukić said that people of all constitutive nations, Bosniak, Serbs and Croats, massively leave BiH.
Zukić said that the Union did a research at the territory of the entire Bosnia and Herzegovina, for the period from July 2013 until 2016. The research referred to the life of returnee families, and through the research the shocking data on the emigration from BiH was revealed.
“When we arrived to Zvornik, we have encountered something that we did not expect – people were leaving. Then we came to a conclusion that the return of people is not in question anymore, but the stay of people in BiH in general is. In Zvornik, we have seen complete families leaving, and the situation was the same in Bijeljina, Brčko, Kalesija and Tuzla,” Zukić said.
Zukić pointed out that especially problematic area is Posavina. People massively leave this area, and those who leave are not just the unemployed ones, but also families whose members are employed.
“Is this a trend or they have a practical possibility and passports to cross the Sava River, and that is literally the European Union, I do not know. We have registered the emigration of Croats, Bosniaks and Serbs equally. What we have seen in the Canton 10 is that cities are literally disappearing, such as Livno, Kupres, Drvar and Tomislavgrad. The elderly people leave less, but young married couples massively leave the country,” Zukić said.
However, there are also some positive examples, for example in Herzegovina. Zukić said that the emigration wave stopped in this part of the country, thanks to the project of connecting the returnees into a cooperative chain for the known market, financed by the US Embassy in BiH.
“We have educated people how to direct traditional production towards the EU. We have done the expert part of the project with the Agro-Mediterranean Faculty and something significant appeared there – a known market, i.e. one company in Ljubinje which covered the products that have not appeared in BiH before. Over 800 families started dealing with the growing of immortelle because they already have a safe market,” Zukić said.
Zukić added that the Union has a very good cooperation with the Ministry of Security of BiH, which has operational data on the number of people who left BiH.
“Around 80.000 persons emigrated since the beginning of 2013 until April 2016,” Zukić said.
According to the data, in the mentioned period the largest number of people left from Sanski Most (7.000), then from Zvornik (6.000), Bijeljina (5.500), Brčko (4.075), Drvar (2.500) and Odžak (2.000).
This association highlights that the research they launched in 2013 at the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which 1091 local communities participated, as well as 41 local non-governmental organizations, representatives of local authorities, and numerous volunteers and Union members, indicates the alarming notion of the disappearance of cities cause by emigration from BiH.