Over the past twenty years, many actors have worked to address the problem of displacement caused by the conflicts of the 90s of the last century – and all its negative consequences in Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, there is still many of those who need additional care and support. Over the years, authorities at all levels, civil society, as well as UNHCR and other international organizations, have accumulated enormous knowledge and experience in addressing the needs of displaced persons.
As the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees (MHRR) has received from the European Union’s Integration Framework Fund (EUIF) the necessary funds to collect and map relevant indicators of the real needs of persons covered by the Annex VII of the Dayton Peace Accords , the UNHCR Office in BiH held today in Sarajevo a ceremony of handing over of a database of information on displaced people, returnees and refugees, members of the Roma community and persons with disabilities. The data, which have been collected through UNHCR project activities in the period 2015-2018, should be used comprehensively by the MHRR to implement this project.
“UNHCR believes that the project of collecting and mapping relevant indicators of the real needs of displaced persons and refugees, members of the Roma minority and persons with disabilities, implemented by the BiH MHRR, funded by the European Union, is rightly targeting the most vulnerable population groups in this country. We also believe that this project could benefit greatly from our already developed and verified database, which has been collected in the field over the last three years. So today, in the spirit of our cooperation and support, we would like to hand over this complete database to the lead state institution in charge of finding durable solutions for these groups, ” said Anne Christine Eriksson, UNHCR Regional Representative for South East Europe and Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The database will create a solid basis for further updating, programme planning and policy, in particular for the purpose of applying for potential projects with international donors and in line with the methodology developed by UNHCR during data collection activities in 80 municipalities in BiH, with support of the partner “Union for Sustainable Return and Integrations BiH” (UZOPI).
“The data used in the preparation of the report on the implementation of the Revised BiH Strategy for Annex VII DPA, which UNHCR has generously provided, relate to the spheres of health and social protection, labour, employment and all other segments regarding the realization of the Revised Strategy and our efforts to accomplish to the greatest extent all those recommendations that we have recognized as being essential to this process, ” said Željka Marković-Sekulić, Assistant Minister for Human Rights and Refugees of BiH. “We believe that this database will be very useful to the MHRR in the future, especially when it comes to mapping needs of vulnerable groups of displaced persons and returnees in BiH, as well as persons with disabilities and members of the Roma population”, added Ms. Marković-Sekulić.
“Continuous updating of this database will definitely elevate programme planning and development policies to a higher level, and give a new dimension to fund-raising activities, as they would be firmly supported by the concrete cases identified in field, thus contributing to the greater transparency and legitimacy to budget expenditures within related interventions” concluded Ms. Eriksson.
UNHCR advocates for the use of the aforementioned methodology for the purpose of an effective identification of needs and vulnerabilities and securing available resources to address them, with the ultimate goal to close the protracted chapter of displacement in BiH as soon as possible.