A drastic rise in the number of migrants and refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina occurred in 2018 and continued gradually since then. In that year alone, out of the total number of incomers, 175 of them were unaccompanied children or children separated from their parents/guardians (OSCE evaluation). At the end of the year 2019, UNICEF states that, out of 8,000 migrants/refugees and asylum seekers, 33% were families with children and 7% were unaccompanied children. To this day, the numbers have not significantly changed. For these children, days are filled with obstacles.
Separation from their parents, lack of basic security, non-adequate health care, and basic living conditions are just at the top of the long list of issues that also include a high amount of
Discrimination comes from the hosting population in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Representation in the media—or the lack of it—stands as one of the problems. It has made the majority of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s citizens “blind” to the problem of children on the move and the challenges that they face on a daily basis. The number of articles written and published on this topic is highly deficient. On the other hand, the articles and stories that get published, usually don’t point in the direction of raising awareness of the problem but do exactly the opposite. In the past few years there were several situations where, in the published texts, children and adolescents from this group were mainly associated with violence or terrorism. The photographs that were shared disrespected the dignity of children and their parents.
This violation from the side of the media leads to a great problem of generalization that can result (and did result in the past) in brutal verbal and physical attacks on migrants or refugees, including the youngest among them. All of this creates a solid ground for discrimination and unjust treatment of this group which is seen in different fields including education. For the sake of “Rapid Assessment of Education Needs of Refugee/Migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina” children from this group were interviewed to understand the urgent education needs and priorities of refugee/migrant children.
All interviewed children stated that they have the desire to be included in the educational system and yet, many are not lucky to get these opportunities. According to public data, only around 200 refugee/migrant children are enrolled in the educational system. There is almost no aspect of life in which a great number of migrants/refugees and asylum seekers don’t face difficulties, no matter how fundamental those aspects are. Most definitely, improvement needed starts with awareness, and acting in that direction is a great first step toward reaching the necessary improvement.