The forced displacement of 2.2 million persons during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) was not a by-product of war but served the purpose of ethnic cleansing. An important aspect of redress for forced migration and displacement is the right of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to freely choose among three durable solutions: repatriation/return, integration, and resettlement. In the context of post-Dayton BiH, this right has been an artificial one as it has been exercised in a political environment that prioritises return. The goal of reversing ethnic cleansing through return has dominated what should be a neutral humanitarian process focused on the needs of individual refugees and IDPs. Weak conditions for sustainable return combined with the absence of alternatives to return have left many Bosnians without access to any durable solution. There is an urgent need to depoliticize the humanitarian space and to provide refugees, IDPs and returnees with genuine options.
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