Most of the recognized refugees in BiH are Roma from Kosovo whom UNHCR recognized between 1999 and 2004 when determining refugee status on behalf of the government. Once the BiH government took over responsibility for refugee status determination, no Roma from Kosovo had been recognized as refugees.

Current BiH law* does not allow for refugees to become citizens.

Despite this obstacle there have been positive developments. The government, UNHCR and its partners have succeeded to make basic rights accessible to recognized refugees, such as the right to: education, health care, work and social welfare. For further progress a more systematic approach is needed that also includes citizenship and permanent housing, as well as other integration support for refugees.

*The Law on the Movement and Stay of Aliens and Asylum; and, the Citizenship Law.


BiH is a State party to the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. From the beginning of its operation in BiH, UNHCR has diligently advocated for the establishment of the legal and administrative framework for asylum. After much effort, the BiH legislation on asylum is generally in line with the international refugee law.

However, some shortcomings do exist both in legislation and its implementation and remain problematic which UNHCR and the Government of BiH continues to address.

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