The lack of translators and cultural mediators often cause problems and are in fact some of the biggest hurdles in working with people on the move. These are among key findings from the research partnership between DRC in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the University of Sarajevo. It furthermore points to the fact stressed by several public institutions that such enabling factors impact the processes of identification, burial of persons who died during their stay in the country, as well as the forced return of persons who were not granted asylum.
The research was carried out during June and July 2022 by DRC in Bosnia and Herzegovina in collaboration with Dr. Damir Banović from the Faculty of Law of the University of Sarajevo. Looking into the legal aid needs and gaps among persons who are not in the asylum-seeking process and have been in Bosnia and Herzegovina for some time has eventually provided valuable lessons.
‘We met with a range of institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina – from the courts, prosecutor's offices, ministries, and centers for social work. We asked them to help us in identifying the specific needs and problems that people on the move may have when they meet and face these particular institutions here,“ tells Liam Isić, DRC Protection Monitoring Officer in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The research was carried out in line with international standards, looking at the international frameworks for protection of human rights and its comparison and general practices applied in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
‘Although Bosnia and Herzegovina is a transit country on the Balkan migration route, we all need to do our best to introduce people on the move to their rights and possibilities of using legal aid while residing here,’ says Damir Banović, University of Sarajevo.
These latest insights from the research partnership are essential to creating more awareness among the parties involved and inform not least the work of DRC in the country.
‘I left my home with the hope that one day I will live in a country where basic human rights will be respected. I hope that I will fulfill my dreams in Europe. I the meanwhile – and during my time here in Bosnia and Herzegovina - I appreciate having access to legal aid to help me understand my rights and my options,’ says Omar from Afghanistan.