United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

UNHCR is mandated by the United Nations to lead and co-ordinate international action for the worldwide protection of refugees and the resolution of refugee problems. UNHCR's primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. UNHCR works in 126 countries, with staff based in 135 regional and branch offices and in 279 sub-offices and field offices.

UNHCR Presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina  

UNHCR began its operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the war, sending large shipments of aid to BiH and distributing it to war victims throughout the country. Since 1992, UNHCR has continued to provide humanitarian assistance and to ensure the protection of displaced persons in BiH.  In 1995, UNHCR was entrusted with assisting the government in the implementation of Annex VII of the Dayton Peace Agreement, which set out the terms and conditions for the return of refugees and displaced persons from the conflict. Since the end of the conflict in 1995, through concerted national and international efforts including improvements in security, freedom of movement, the repossession of property and the reconstruction of houses, it is estimated that over one million refugees and displaced persons have exercised their right to voluntary return.  Together with local governments and authorities and in co-operation with other international partners, UNHCR continues to facilitate the return of both refugees and displaced persons to their homes of origin.

Since 1995 UNHCR has mobilised and spent over US$ 458 million on humanitarian and return-related assistance.  In spite of the successes that have been achieved for refugees and displaced persons in BiH, there is still much more to be done to provide durable solutions to all refugees and displaced persons in BiH.