32 internally displaced and returnee families in Prijedor were handed the keys to their new homes today, offering them stability and security for the future, after years of living in temporary accommodation. The homes were built as part of the Regional Housing Programme, a joint initiative of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia supporting peace, stability and reconciliation in the region. The EU is the biggest donor to this programme, providing 234 million euros, which represents over 80% of the total programme budget.
“Finally, the time when I get an apartment has arrived. I moved from Ključ and was displaced for over twenty years. I am thankful to the City of Prijedor and everyone involved in building this facility,” said Gojko Avramović, one of the programme beneficiaries.
The keys to the new homes in Prijedor were handed over by Krassimir Nikolov, Chargé d’Affaires of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Miloš Lučić, Minister for Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ljubo Ninković the Acting Director of the Republika Srpska Secretariat for Refugees and Displaced Persons and Dalibor Pavlović, Mayor of Prijedor.
Krassimir Nikolov, Chargé d’Affaires of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina underscored that these homes are a tangible symbol of the EU’s support for some of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most vulnerable families. “Refugees and internally displaced people who have been living for too long in temporary accommodation will now have a place they can call their own. I am very pleased with the results we achieved so far. Challenges remain for vulnerable families, including access to education, social services and employment opportunities. But, with the right support in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including from friends in the international community, we can make a difference,” said Nikolov.
Over twenty-five years after the war ended, around 8,500 persons still live in 156 Collective Centres or Alternative Accommodation across Bosnia and Herzegovina. As part of the Regional Housing Programme, around 1,800 housing units have been delivered to date in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The final target is for more than 3,000 housing units to be constructed by the end of 2023. Bosnia and Herzegovina is making good progress in the implementation of the programme and this represents a positive example of how different levels of authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina can work together to achieve results.
Milos Lučić, Minister of Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina said, “I am honoured to share the happiness and joy of these families who are finally moving into permanent homes. Twenty-six years later, we still have displaced families all over the country and we are working to solve that. The pandemic has not stopped our work within the Regional Housing Programme, and in the last year we have signed new projects worth 25 million euros and contracts with suppliers.”
The BiH Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees is the lead institution in terms of implementing the Regional Housing Programme, and has entrusted the implementation of sub-projects to the Federal Ministry of Displaced Persons and Refugees, the Republika Srpska Secretariat for Displaced Persons and Migration, and the Department for Displaced Persons, Refugees and Housing Issues of the Government of the Brčko District of BiH.
For more information about the programme, visit: http://regionalhousingprogramme.org/