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Refugees in Bosnia


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MSF closed our last projects in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2021.

MSF returned to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2018 to provide medical care for people sheltering in informal camps and squats along the borders before wrapping up activities in 2021.

Between 2018-2021, the country saw the arrival of more than 75,000 migrants and refugees, mainly from countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and beyond. They were often fleeing conflict and poverty in their countries and were in search of safety. 

People have found themselves cut off from healthcare and basic services in Bosnia-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. Between 2018-2021, our teams provided first aid and medical care through a mobile unit along the Bosnian borders.

Our activities in 2021 in the Balkans

Data and information from the International Activity Report 2021; staff and expenditure figures, and description and data on activities cover both Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia.

MSF in the Balkans in 2021 Thousands of people attempted to cross through the Balkans in 2021, in search of safety in other European destinations, despite reports of illegal pushbacks and indiscriminate violence by state authorities.

In Serbia, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) assisted migrants and refugees living outside official accommodation, along the northern borders with Croatia, Hungary and Romania. Through mobile clinics, we offered medical and mental health care, as well as social support. In February 2021, MSF donated 2.5 tons of essential relief items, such as blankets and hygiene kits, to civil society organisations in Serbia to be distributed to people in need.

Between January and September, we also had teams working along the border areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina, providing medical and mental health care to victims of violence.

Throughout the year, and in both locations, our patients included victims of physical violence reportedly perpetrated by border authorities. We also treated people whose health had been affected by low temperatures in the region, poor living conditions, significant gaps in medical assistance and a lack of food, shelter, clean clothes and hygiene facilities.


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