Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ
Bosnia and Herzegovina

On 27 May 2021, the legal aid organisation Vaša Prava, in cooperation with IRZ, organised a seminar on the rights of refugees. The 25 participants working with refugees came from non-governmental organisations, the Ombudsman's office and various ministries.

During the first part of the event, lawyer Amra Kadrić, who advises refugees on behalf of Vaša Prava, presented the current situation. She explained that hardly any reliable figures on refugees in the country were available, due to the geographical location of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a transit country and the irregularity of entries and exits. During her lecture, she also addressed the violation of refugees’ rights. She talked about the fact that many refugees who were entitled to asylum were only granted subsidiary protection and that there were problems concerning the granting of rights to education. However, Amra Kadrić also stressed the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina's legislation is strongly oriented towards European standards.

During the second part of the event, lawyer Holger Hembach presented the legal status of refugees on the basis of international and regional conventions. As a former OSCE staff member in the field of human rights in the Western Balkans and author of a reference book on appeals submitted to the ECtHR, Holger Hembach is a proven expert in this field. He also represents clients at the ECtHR. The participants in the seminar were particularly interested in the following explanations:

  • the decisions of international courts on the treatment of refugees in transit zones,
  • restrictions on the freedom of movement of refugees and
  • a judgement from the ECtHR on the issue of application for asylum.

During the lively discussions, the participants emphasised that despite significant problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina, there still exists a humane way of dealing with refugees. In his closing remarks, the Managing Director of Vaša Prava, Emir Prcanović, also emphasised that much more could be achieved if everyone pulled together.