Hoping to encourage a more nuanced public debate on the issue of migration, the European Union supported the exhibition of photographs of migrants and refugess passing through Bosnia and Herzegovina. The exhibition of portraits call for deep self-reflection of our perception of migration and reminds that migrants are individuals with their own histories, memories and aspirations, rather than a vague and faceless group.
The EU Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina organized the exhibition, “People”, by renowned photographer Munever Salihović, in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration. Salihovic spent months with migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina, following their everyday activities in order to understand their struggles and present them to the public through powerful and expressive portraits.
During the opening of the exhibition on 10 December – International Human Rights Day and the 70th Anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Khaldoun Sinno, pointed out that the photographs portray various personal stories, ambitions and plans of migrants, at a time when there is less and less explanation of the people themselves: “These photographs show histories of individuals, all of whom have the right to have their stories, hopes and aspirations told with dignity,” underlined Sinno.
“With this exhibition, IOM and the EU wish to show that these migrants and refugees are first and foremost individual people, who face their own challenges and problems, not unlike anyone around the world. Individualizing migrants and refugees is a first step to recognising that we collectively need to treat them as ‘one of us’,” stated Peter Van Der Auweraert, Chief of Mission of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), during the opening of the exhibition at the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where it will be displayed until the 18 December, International Migrants Day.