CRS in Bosnia and Herzegovina
More than 20 years after the war, Bosnia and Herzegovina has yet to achieve a peaceful and just society. The country continues to have thousands of displaced people and an unemployment rate of 45%. More than 18% of the population lives below the poverty line.
Poor economic conditions coupled with divisive nationalistic political rhetoric, mono-ethnic communities and segregated schools continue to threaten the stability of the region. Returnees, war victims, women victims of rape, their families and citizens in general are still struggling to recover from the violent conflict that left 400,000 people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Deep ethnic divisions continue to paralyze society and prevent BiH from realizing its strategic potential as a land- and resource-rich neighbor of the European Union. Contending historical and political narratives place blame on different groups for starting the war and committing war crimes. With these opposing narratives defining perceptions at every level of society, reconciliation remains elusive, inhibiting progress towards improved social well-being and a stable political and economic environment for BiH citizens.
Country News and Stories
November 8, 2017
Inspired by Pope Francis, New Master’s Program on Interreligious Studies and Peacebuilding Kicks Off in Bosnia and Herzegovina
First class is now underway in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
October 28, 2015
Coming to the Aid of Refugees One Patient at a Time
Catholic Relief Services doctor Katarina Mitrovic of Serbia talks about what it’s like to respond to the European refugee crisis.
June 6, 2015
Washington Post: Pope Francis Aims to be 'Messenger of Peace' in Bosnia Today
Pope Francis visits Bosnia-Herzegovina today; Washington Post spoke with CRS about his trip.
June 20, 2009
Protecting Young Women from Human Traffickers
You might think that after fleeing ethnic cleansing in the Balkans when she was a child, Armana had left the most dangerous time in her life behind her. Now 19, she remembers how her family was uprooted by war in the...
CRS' History in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Catholic Relief Services came to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993 to provide emergency relief to people living under siege in Sarajevo. At the end of the war, half the population of the country of 4 million was displaced. CRS responded by assisting families to return to homes they fled during the war. CRS continues these efforts through rebuilding and constructing housing and infrastructure, promoting livelihoods and education, and providing psychological support. CRS supports peacebuilding by working with war victims' associations to recover from trauma and move toward tolerance, forgiveness and reconciliation.