Unveiling of a mural in gratitude to the residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina for welcoming refugees
20 June 2023
World Refugee Day honour the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution.
Today, a mural was unveiled in the Municipality of Ilidža, created by UNHCR in collaboration with the Municipality of Ilidža and students from the Academy of Fine Arts Sarajevo, on the occasion of World Refugee Day.
Sarajevo,20 June 2023 – In celebration of World Refugee Day this year, UNHCR, in collaboration with the Municipality of Ilidža, has created a mural titled “Welcome,” symbolically representing the hospitality of the local community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has welcomed numerous refugees forced to leave their homes due to wars, persecution, or human rights violations.
“We are pleased that our municipality was chosen for the mural. The Municipality of Ilidža has been a welcoming place for refugees for many years. We want refugees to feel comfortable and become our fellow citizens when they come to Ilidža,” said Sejda Topalović, Assistant to the Mayor of Ilidža Municipality.
“Every year on World Refugee Day, which is observed on 20 June, UNHCR organizes a series of events in several cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as worldwide, to draw public attention to the challenges faced by refugees and to express gratitude to the local communities for the hospitality they provide to people who have been forced to leave their homes due to violence, war, persecution, or human rights violations,” said Lucie Gagné, UNHCR Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Currently, around 110 million people are displaced worldwide. On this day, we recognize their plight and experiences while honouring their courage, hopes, and contributions to host countries.
World Refugee Day is also a day to acknowledge the generosity of host countries that have kept their borders and hearts open to people in need of protection.
“The solidarity and compassion the world has shown towards refugees from our country oblige us to reciprocate in the same way. It obliges us to advocate for understanding and empathy towards refugees, to be their voice, and not allow indifference to the hardships they face while searching for safe havens, just as hundreds of thousands of Bosnians and Herzegovinians did, not so long ago,” said Nina Mišković, Secretary of the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
On the occasion of World Refugee Day, UNHCR also supported an academic community gathering in Tuzla, where discussions were held regarding the current asylum law and planned amendments. Earlier this weekend, a football tournament for children was supported in Bihać.
The theme of this year’s World Refugee Day, “Hope Away From Home,” particularly highlights the importance of understanding, hospitality, and support provided by local communities to those who have been forced to leave their homes. With the support of all of us, they build hope for a better future far from their homelands.
The mural in the Municipality of Ilidža was painted on the initiative of UNHCR and with the support from the Municipality of Ilidža in collaboration with students from the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo and refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina who have experience in mural painting, with technical support from the Bosnia and Herzegovina Women’s Initiative (BHWI).