Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 May 2016, 11:51 GMT

Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2010 - Bosnia and Herzegovina

Publisher Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC)
Publication Date 23 March 2011
Cite as Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC), Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2010 - Bosnia and Herzegovina, 23 March 2011, available at: [accessed 24 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Quick facts
Number of IDPs113,400
Percentage of total population2.5%
Start of current displacement situation1992
Peak number of IDPs (Year)1,000,000 (1993)
New displacement0
Causes of displacementArmed conflict, generalised violence, human rights violations
Human development index68

The 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina led to the internal displacement of over a million people and the creation of ethnically homogeneous areas within the newly independent state. Estimates of the number of people remaining internally displaced fell following successive registration exercises. At the end of 2010, 113,400 IDPs remained, many of them older or vulnerable people who needed specific assistance. 7,000 IDPs were still living in decrepit collective centres.

By 2010, 580,000 IDPs had returned to their places of origin, but the rate of return had considerably slowed. Violence in return areas had declined, but discrimination continued to limit returnees' access to livelihoods and public services.

Many IDPs and returnees continued to live in precarious situations, with no adequate housing, economic opportunities or support. In December, flash floods in the north and east led to the evacuation of 40,000 people, including about 10,000 IDPs, from their damaged or destroyed properties.

Social services were provided in different areas by the two governing entities, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Sprska; as a result pensions and other social benefits were lower in certain areas.

From the end of the war, the government and international agencies promoted return to the exclusion of other settlement options, so as not to cement the "ethnic cleansing" which motivated the displacement. However, in June 2010, the government adopted a new strategy recognising the need to compensate people for lost property and to assist IDPs who cannot or do not want to return.

Only a few international organisations were still working to support IDPs, among them OSCE, UNHCR and UNDP. The EU also continued to influence government policy in favour of IDPs through the process of Bosnia's candidacy.

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