Coalition of international organizations working in child rights sector urge Bosnia and Herzegovina to prioritize support to refugee and migrant children and their families as well as unaccompanied and separated children in BiH

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Sarajevo, 11. June 2018. – The assessment about the situation of migrant and refugee children, including unaccompanied and separated children in Bosnia and Herzegovina was completed at the request of international organisations working in the child rights sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A coalition, comprised of International Forum of Solidarity – Emmaus (IFS-Emmaus), Save the Children, SOS Kinderdorf, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Vision was formed to oversee the design and implementation of the assessment, while the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office (UN RCO), contributed to the realisation of this assessment through logistic and technical support for data collection.

A total of 381 questionnaires were completed, including 29 unaccompanied and separated children (UASC), 34 accompanied children aged 15 and above (of which four were 18 and one 20 years of age), 40 children without age identification, with the remaining ones’ caregivers covering 278 accompanied children ages 0-14. It is worth noting that an additional 37 male UASC were identified in Velika Kladuša, however, did not agree to being interviewed. Twelve children with different forms of physical and/or intellectual disabilities were identified, of which five were unaccompanied and separated children. Among the children on the move with their families the report finds close to equal number of boys and girls (39% of them below the age of 4, while 52% of children aged 5-14 and 9% of children aged 15-17), while all unaccompanied children are boys (24% of them 14 years of age, 35% between age 15 and 16 and 38% of them 17 years old).

Key recommendations for immediate response include ensuring that:

  • All unaccompanied and separated children as well as accompanied children and their families are provided with immediate accommodation/shelter.
  • All children, accompanied or unaccompanied, are provided with urgent medical attention (check-up) and needed clothing, hygiene supplies and adequate food (including three meals per day, and supplements such as vitamins, where needed).
  • All unaccompanied and separated children get immediately a legal guardian appointed.
  • All unaccompanied and separated children as well as accompanied children and their families have access to continuous psycho-social counselling.

Other recommendations from the assessment include protection, nutrition, health, education, and non-food items concerns. A follow-up assessment on education is recommended to ensure that asylum-seeking children benefit from primary and secondary education.