Training course of Legis in Bosnia

On 12th of May 2018, in organisation with the Centre of Education and Research “Nahla” from Bihać, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Legis held a one-day training named “Humane Treatment of the Refugees” aimed at volunteers and activists of various NGOs, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Interior of the cities of Bihać and Velika Kladuša.

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The training focused on humane approach to the refugees and migrants based on the experiences of the Balkan Route starting from 2015 until now. The goal of CER “Nahla” and Legis NGO from Macedonia was to exchange experiences and lessons learned, as well information on legislation which is (dis)functional.

At the peak of the refugee crisis, volunteerism proved to be of great importance in the Una-Sana Canton. Their commitment has been useful for all the stakeholders, however, that can be challenging and stressful, too. Sometimes, not knowing the cultural background, actions and expectations, volunteers make mistakes unintentionally which can be avoided with a little knowledge and effort. Bearing in mind that in 2018 Bosnia and Herzegovina has just started to face the phenomenon of refugee flow, which it managed to evade, and now government institutions and the NGO sector have found themselves uncoordinated and are in great need of support.  Sarajevo, as the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Bihać and Velika Kladuša as exit cities situated in the northwest of the country have the greatest number of refugees/migrants where citizens and local CSOs try to meet the needs of the refugees/migrants by offering food and accommodation, while some of them are sleeping in abandoned buildings or parks.   

Mersiha Smailović and Jasmin Redjepi as trainers and representatives of Legis had the opportunity to visit these two cities, check up on the current situation and have a word with the refugees/migrants themselves, and with those who help them on a daily basis. Hence are the topics discussed at the training: Rights of refugees, migrants, and foreigners; Humanitarian response of the civil sector – how to encourage solidarity?; Vulnerable groups; Networking with local NGOs; Psychological support for volunteers and activists; Lessons learned from the refugee crisis in Macedonia.

Representatives of the civil sector, and those of government institutions and international organisations were satisfied with the training content and expressed a wish to have a several day-training course which would include all relevant stakeholders with the aim of achieving a better coordination among the stakeholders working on field.