UNHCR, Roma NGO’s and Local Authorities Teamed Up for Registration of Romas

unhcr_logoThe United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to BiH, tied to the activities performed on the prevention of statelessness, held a seminar in Sarajevo yesterday on the enrollment of children and adults in the registers for the representatives of 34 Roma NGO’s from the entire FBiH.

The seminar is organized in partnership with the Federal Ministry for Internal Affairs, the Association “Vaša prava” for lending free legal aid to Bosnian Women’s Initiative.

Since 2008, UNHCR BiH, as part of its mandate tied to prevention of statelessness, has been working on the identification and lending support to people in BiH who do not have ID’s and are believed to be at risk of statelessness, and therefore do not enjoy the numerous benefits derived from citizenship status, to which they are entitled.

According to UNHCR estimates, currently in BiH there are 4.500 people who face this problem. Reminding those present that the majority of them who are affected by this problem belong to the Roma minority, representative of UNHCR to BiH Andrew Mayne said that “we have to place Roma at the center of efforts to address this problem, and that through joint activities with Roma NGOs, government authorities and partnership NGO’s, we can take steps so that the risk of statelessness becomes a solvable problem in BiH”.

UNHCR BIH, in partnership with the NGO “Vaša prava BiH” and a team of Roma mediators, will visit 220 Roma communities and locations in the country. The purpose of these visits is to identify the principal needs of every community, and especially those people who are without ID’s.

Since 2009, UNHCR BiH and its implementing partners have identified 4.112 people who need different types of assistance for registration and access to their rights, and until now, 3.509 people have been helped.

After the entry into force of a new law on registers in the FBiH in May 2012, and the issuance of eight by-laws, 702 officers have been trained that were held by the FBih Ministry of Internal Affairs and UNHCR, announced UNHCR.

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