Bosnia and Herzegovina registers around 34,000 migrant arrivals annually

SARAJEVO, February 20 (FENA) – The Minister of Internal Affairs of the Sarajevo Canton, Admir Katica, said that about 34,000 migrant arrivals are registered in Bosnia and Herzegovina annually, of whom about 1,000 of them stay in the Sarajevo Canton daily.

A two-day conference “Good practices in the integration of migrants”, which was organized in Sarajevo by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Sarajevo Canton, with the support of the OSCE Mission to BiH and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights at the OSCE (ODIHR) opened today in Sarajevo.

Katica pointed out that migrants in the Sarajevo Canton mostly stay in the temporary reception centers Blažuj and Ušivak and stay approximately for up to seven days. He stated that four-fifths of them are single, and one-fifth of them are families.

”This population is currently not a security problem and they do not pose a greater threat than the local population,” Katica pointed out.

Head of the Human Rights Section of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Esther Garcia Fransioli, said that with the change in the dynamics of migration, the challenges also change and that the preservation of the rights of migrants and refugees is essential for a cohesive, stable democratic society.

She pointed out that the OSCE Mission in BiH has been actively engaged in solving the migration problem since 2018 when they conducted an assessment of the situation.

She states that the training aims to increase the awareness of international standards and obligations of OSCE member states in relation to the integration of migrants, which would strengthen the capacities of domestic authorities and civil society organizations.

Advisor for migration and freedom of movement of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Alice Szczepanikova, emphasizes that increasing the level of respect for the rights of migrants is one of the key areas of their work and that investing in the integration of migrants and refugees is a long-term and sustainable response to challenges related to migration.

She believes that such efforts are more necessary than ever at a time when the number of forcibly displaced people who have sought protection in OSCE member states is at a record high. Anti-migrant rhetoric is increasingly prominent in shaping the political environment.

Szczepanikova added that successful integration is not only important for the sake of migrants but also the wider security of the host countries and all OSCE member states.

”Learning from the experience of successful models and strengthening the cooperation of international, state and local actors, it is possible to build an inclusive and resilient community and provide migrants and refugees with a dignified life,” she concluded.

The conference is attended by representatives of the relevant ministries of the Sarajevo Canton that deal with the issue of migrants, social services, and non-governmental organizations.

The participants of the conference will discuss the integration of migrants – institutional and legal framework, support for civil, cultural and linguistic integration of migrants, access of migrants to the labor market, racism and xenophobia, prevention and response to discrimination, education of migrants, health care, social services and housing.