Bosnians and Croatians
Sixteen years after the Dayton Peace Agreement ended the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 18,000 Bosnian refugees and 47,000 Croatian refugees continue living in Serbia. In 2010, a repatriation agreement between Croatia and Serbia was announced, and substantial numbers of Croatian and Bosnian refugees have integrated in their host communities in Serbia in recent years. Tens of thousands of Croatian refugees have moreover returned to Croatia.
In the early 1990s, a time of economic crisis and political turmoil, ethnic tensions that had been rising in the former Yugoslavia since the 1980s escalated and a series of brutal wars ensued. Widespread ethnic cleansing and violence against civilians led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and massive displacement. When the wars came to an end in 1995, more than 2 million people had been displaced, and formerly ethnically diverse areas had been segregated. The agreement laid out the rights of those displaced by conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, enabling them to return to their houses and have their property restored to them, or to be compensated where that was impossible. However, many of those displaced chose to remain in or return to areas in which their ethnicity constituted the majority.
While most refugees living in Serbia today live in private accommodation, a few thousand - including vulnerable people - continue to live in poor conditions in collective centres. A regional initiative to secure Durable Solutions for Refugees and IDPs from the 1991-1995 conflicts in the Western Balkans (also known as the ‘Sarajevo Process’) is underway, and a donors conference is expected to be convened in 2012. The process will aim at ending the wartime legacy of displacement and according to current planning, will probably be implemented over a five year period.
- Allen, R., Li Rosi, A. and Skeie, M. (2010) 'Should I stay or should I go? A review of UNHCR's response to the protracted refugee situation in Serbia and Croatia', UNHCR.
- Ambroso, G. (2006) 'The Balkans at a crossroads: Progress and challenges in finding durable solutions for refugees and displaced persons from the wars in the former Yugoslavia', New Issues in Refugee Research No. 133, UNHCR.
- Mooney, E. and Hussain, N. (2009) 'Unfinished Business: IDPs in Bosnia and Herzegovina,' Forced Migration Review No. 33.
- Teržan, M. and Kladarin, D. (2009) 'Local Integration for Refugees in Serbia,' Forced Migration Review No. 33.
- UNHCR (2012) 'UNHCR country operations profile - Serbia(and Kosovo: SC Res. 1244)'.
- UNHCR briefing notes (2010) 'UNHCR welcomes Serbia-Croatia agreement on refugee and return issues'.
- UNHCR (2009) 'Supplementary Appeal: UNHCR Supplementary Programme for Comprehensive Solutions for the Protracted Refugee Situation in Serbia'.
- UNHCR news stories (2009) 'High Commissioner Guterres urges swift end to displacement chapter in Western Balkans'.
- Red Cross Society
- Novi Sad Humanitarian Centre
- Alter Modus
- Humanitarian Law Centre
- Grupa 484 = Group 484
- Udruga Mi / Association Mi
- Društvo za psihološku pomoæ (DPP) / Society for Psychological Assistance
- Coalition for Work with Psychotrauma And Peace (CWWPP)
- Suncokret (Sunflower) Centre for Grassroots Relief Work
- Institute for Migration & Ethnic Studies