Almost one year after the Donor Conference in Sarajevo, UNHCR Representative, Andrew Mayne, and the Head of the European Union Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina and European Union Special Representative, Ambassador Peter Sorensen, today visited vulnerable returnee and internally displaced persons most in need of assistance in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The delegation met with returnee families in the Kozici and Kukavice communities in the Rogatica area, and a returnee in Gornji Gradac in Novo Goradze, before visiting the Balkan I Collective Centre in Gorazde and the Splaviste construction site where two social housing facilities are rapidly taking shape to replace the recently demolished dilapidated shelters that existed on the site. The German government is funding the work at Splaviste through UNHCR and its partner Catholic Relief Services.
Ambassador Sorensen said: “Successful implementation of the Regional Housing Programme must be based on solid knowledge from the field, so it is right that today we see people’s needs at first hand. The Programme will help the most vulnerable first – and I am urging local authorities to play an active role in helping these people rebuild their lives.”
The visit aims to highlight and better understand the needs of vulnerable displaced persons as part of the inception phase of the Regional Housing Programme (RHP) now underway. This initiative will provide durable housing solutions for vulnerable individuals and communities still displaced eighteen years after the conflict who continue to live in sub-standard conditions with little or no form of sustainability.
“Today’s visit highlights the efforts underway to identify and assist vulnerable families who are most in need of a solution in line with the Annex VII Revised Strategy. UNHCR, the EU and the Organization for Security and Development in Europe (OSCE) are working with the government to get help to these communities through an early start to RHP implementation”, said UNHCR Representative, Andrew Mayne.
The visit is also intended to encourage the greater participation of local authorities in ensuring that individuals and communities are provided with more sustainability support to both assist them and to encourage others to return.