24 returnee families received keys to their rebuilt homes in Derventa, northern Bosnia, at a ceremony attended by Semiha Borovac, national Minister of Human Rights and Refugees, Davor Čordaš, Republika Srpska entity Minister of Human Rights and Refugees, Milorad Simic, Mayor of Derventa, Massimo Mina, Head of Operations, Section for Social Development, Civil Society and Cross-Border Cooperation at the EU Delegation to BiH, as well as by representatives of partner organisation UNHCR, OSCE and the CEB.
Mina stated: “We strongly support coordinated efforts of the responsible ministries, cantons and local government units in the design and implementation of adequate socio-economic measures that would support the return process and move beyond pure housing solutions. This means that not only the ministers for refugees at different levels should be involved, as it is mostly the case at the moment, but also ministries responsible for education, health, social security, and other relevant ministries.”
Mayne, the UNHCR Regional Representative for South Eastern Europe stressed that the UN Refugee Agency was “pleased to witness, today in Derventa, an example of the return of the most vulnerable families from displacement in the neighboring counties to the areas of BiH devastated during the war“.
This way, added Mayne, the Regional Housing Program is fulfilling its very, specific aim, i.e. to help solve the serious known remaining problems of displacement in the region.
The ceremony was also an opportunity to celebrate another milestone, the launch of the reconstruction of a geriatric center for vulnerable IDPs which will house residents thus far accommodated in collective centers. The project is partially financed through CEB loans and aims at closing collective centers in Bosnia, providing durable accommodation to more than 7,000 people who are still living in collective and alternative accommodation across the country.