Regional Office in South Eastern Europe


Operation: Opération: Regional Office in South Eastern Europe



Latest update of camps and office locations 21  Nov  2016. By clicking on the icons on the map, additional information is displayed.

Key Figures

2017 planning figures
13,270 people of concern assisted with legal aid to realize their rights
11,703 of people at risk of statelessness assisted with documentation  
2,700 people of concern will receive cash grants and some 10,000 people with specific needs will receive in-kind support
86% of known SGBV survivors will receive appropriate support
60% of households will live in adequate dwellings
2015 end-year results
60% of households lived in adequate dwellings
537 households received core relief items
759 people of concern received production kits or inputs for agriculture, livestock, or fisheries activities
90% of primary school-aged children were enrolled in primary education, and 47% in secondary education
2,456 people of concern received cash grants, while 10,614 people with specific needs received non-cash support
80% of known SGBV survivors received appropriate support
2,565 people received psychosocial support
6 reception centre buildings were improved or maintained
239 people with undetermined nationality were assisted with confirmation of nationality and 2,111 people of concern had their naturalization facilitated
413 stateless persons assisted with acquisition of nationality

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Decrease in
2016 440,253
2015 442,321


[["Refugees",36382],["Refugee-like situation",7160],["Asylum-seekers",3038],["IDPs",317957],["Returned IDPs",477],["Returned refugees",171],["Stateless",11180],["Others of concern",63888]]
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Regional Office in South Eastern Europe

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2016 {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017],"budget":[null,null,null,61.005667061,68.10731266,61.20811659],"expenditure":[null,null,null,34.31168599,40.20730776,null]} {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017],"p1":[null,null,null,28.612472566,40.97210448,36.43601572],"p2":[null,null,null,3.844207253,3.55188212,3.27451216],"p3":[null,null,null,5.793305568,3.8070055,3.79557792],"p4":[null,null,null,22.755681674,19.77632056,17.70201079]} {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017],"p1":[null,null,null,20.24093268,27.85302022,null],"p2":[null,null,null,2.32336862,2.35699038,null],"p3":[null,null,null,2.02776035,1.7993934,null],"p4":[null,null,null,9.71962434,8.19790376,null]}
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  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
UNHCR’s Regional Office in Sarajevo covers activities in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Additional information on UNHCR’s response in South-Eastern Europe is presented in the sub-regional overview.

Working environment and key achievements

Following the de facto closure of the so-called Western Balkans route in March 2016, particularly affecting the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia, UNHCR and partners increased protection/border monitoring and capacity building of different actors in the field of asylum and migration. As part of the Regional IPA II project, UNHCR, together with EASO, FRONTEX and IOM, focused on building the capacity of Governments to manage protection challenges in mixed movements to ensure functional asylum and migration systems.
UNHCR maintained its presence to effectively monitor and ensure the protection of people of concern. The Office worked to ensure access to registration, assistance and basic services, and provide information and legal aid. UNHCR also worked to improve reception conditions, especially for people with special needs. Medical assistance was provided to some 73,000 people and up to 220,000 non-food items were distributed. In addition, 174,928 people were assisted with free legal aid. UNHCR also supported relevant authorities and other actors to strengthening referral and follow-up mechanisms.
In Albania, UNHCR continued to support the Directorate for Asylum to facilitate access to territory and status determination procedures for people of concern. Border monitoring missions were conducted regularly. UNHCR worked closely with the Government on contingency planning and emergency preparedness. Close to 2,000 people were assisted with accommodation, legal aid, health care and psychosocial support.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, UNHCR continued to promote the engagement of authorities, and supported the use of data-driven, needs-based methodology to find durable solutions, including by fostering local integration, supporting voluntary return in safety and dignity, and finding alternative shelter for people in collective centres. UNHCR assisted 1,400 IDPs with agriculture inputs and 1,400 people with sustainability grants. UNHCR also helped refugees to obtain necessary documents to apply for naturalization following the entry into force of new citizenship laws in May 2016, which enabled refugees with five years of residency to naturalize.
In Kosovo (S/RES/1244 (1999)), UNHCR advocated for improved access to, and quality of, status determination procedures, as well as for improvements in reception conditions, with a particular focus on children, victims of violence and other people with specific needs. In 2016, UNHCR assisted close to 600 displaced to voluntarily return to Kosovo. UNHCR also contributed to guidance on reception conditions for asylum-seekers with specific needs to be incorporated into the law on asylum.
In Montenegro, UNHCR continued to consolidate its strategy in seeking durable solutions for people of concern; 117 people voluntarily returned to Kosovo, 48 families received housing support, while 11,400 acquired legal residence as foreigners in Montenegro. UNHCR supported self-reliance activities to assist people of concern in finding gainful employment. Access to labour market for people who acquired status of foreigner with temporary residency remains limited. In 2016, UNHCR continued to work with the Ministry of the Interior on the draft new law on foreigners.
Refugees and migrants continued to arrive in Serbia following the de-facto closure of the so-called West Balkans route in March. Some 7,000 of them were present in Serbia by the end of 2016 and UNHCR and its partners remained engaged providing protection services and assistance in coordination with relevant Government institutions and civil society. UNHCR advocated a comprehensive approach to finding durable solutions for IDPs from Kosovo, including voluntary repatriation and local integration. Three collective centres were closed in 2016 after UNHCR successful achieved durable solutions for ex-residents.
In the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, UNHCR advocated access to asylum for people of concern, and for ending the detention of asylum-seekers. Activities in support of the refugees from former Yugoslavia focused on voluntary return to Kosovo (150 returns) and local integration, including support with naturalization (19 individuals) and strengthening self-reliance.

Unmet needs

National asylum systems need to be strengthened in all countries of South Eastern Europe. Improvement of reception conditions are required particularly vis-à-vis people with specific needs and vulnerable categories of people of concern including victims of trafficking and torture, unaccompanied and separated children, SGBV survivors and elderly. Legal assistance, counselling on the RSD procedure, more regular border monitoring visits as well as further training of partners on SGBV prevention and response, are some of the activities that could be accomplished should additional funding be made available. Integration opportunities also needs to be supported in order promote the countries in the region more as a destination instead of just transit for people in need of international protection. 
People displaced by conflicts in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s are still not able to access their rights and benefiting from durable solutions. The situation remains particularly complicated for Roma IDPs. 



This summary presents UNHCR’s planned response to address the needs of people displaced by the conflicts of the 1990s in the Western Balkans. Please see the subregional overview for South-Eastern Europe for information on UNHCR’s response to the influx of new arrivals to the subregion.
There are essentially three sub-groups of displaced people with needs resulting from the conflicts of the 1990s: refugees/returnees in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; internally displaced people (IDPs) in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and Kosovo (Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999)); and returnees in Kosovo (S/RES/1244 (1999)). 
UNHCR will address the needs of refugees mainly through its role in the Regional Housing Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, and for which Croatia is a partner country. The focus for the next two years will be to address the outstanding needs of the most vulnerable groups of refugees and IDPs, including by providing support to displaced Roma communities. In Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, UNHCR will continue to provide a final phase of direct support to meet the shelter and sustainability needs of vulnerable groups, while also strengthening local capacity in preparation for the hand-over of the programme to the national authorities by the end of 2017.
For returnees and IDPs in Kosovo (S/RES/1244 (1999)), UNHCR’s planned activities will also focus on achieving the largest possible number of sustainable solutions. Returns will be supported by giving priority to the most vulnerable groups, such the residents of temporary collective centres and the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities.