Bosnia and Herzegovina
Since January 2018, the country has seen the arrival of more than 75,000 migrants and refugees, mainly from countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and beyond. They are often fleeing conflict and poverty in their countries and are in search of safety.
People find themselves cut off from healthcare and basic services in Bosnia and Herzegovina, trapped between border areas and often become victims of illegal pushbacks. They are often brutalised not only by state authorities and smugglers but also by the living conditions they find themselves in. Our teams provide first aid and medical care through a mobile unit along the Bosnian borders.
Our activities in 2020 in the Balkans
Data and information from the International Activity Report 2020; staff and expenditure figures, and description and data on activities covers both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.
From January to March, MSF ran a clinic in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, offering general healthcare, mental health services and social support for vulnerable people. We also provided general and mental healthcare to migrants arriving in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In both locations, our teams offered care to victims of physical violence reportedly perpetrated by Croatian and Hungarian border guards and authorities. Also, we provided assistance to people whose health had been affected by poor living conditions, significant gaps in medical assistance and a lack of food, shelter, clean clothes and hygiene facilities.
In the first months of the year, the COVID-19 pandemic led to extensive lockdowns in the region, which had an impact on our activities and the people we were assisting. With temperatures dropping and the number of COVID-19 cases increasing, migrants living outside the official accommodation system were transferred to camps, where they were forced to stay.
In December, we returned to the region to deliver care through mobile clinics to people stranded close to the border areas and to victims of violence.