Bosnia-Herzegovina: “Who’s living in my house?”: Obstacles to the safe return of refugees and displaced people

Index Number: EUR 63/001/1997

More than two million people from Bosnia-Herzegovina became refugees or were internally displaced during the conflict which began in 1992. Of these only some 250,000 have been able to return since December 1995, and more people have been displaced since the peace agreement was signed. Those who are still refugees or internally displaced have been unable to return because their safety cannot be guaranteed. The parties to the peace agreement recognized the right of refugees and displaced people to return to their homes of origin and undertook to ensure they could return without risk of harassment, intimidation, persecution or discrimination. These undertakings have not been honoured. This document outlines the continuing human rights violations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, including detention without charge or trial, “disappearances”, ill-treatment, forcible expulsions and violent opposition to returns. It goes on to describe other obstacles to the right to return home and the continuing need for the protection of refugees in host states, where the pressure is mounting to return refugees, despite the continuing abuses.

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