In 1997, Bosnia-Herzegovina became the first LSN Network in 1997, shortly after Diana, Princess of Wales, and LSN Co-founders, Jerry White and Ken Rutherford, visited the region on a humanitarian mission.
Since then, LSN-Bosnia-Herzegovina has grown into a community of Outreach Workers helping survivors in the twelve most heavily mined regions in the country: Sarajevo, Tuzla, Doboj, Doboj East, Banja Luka, Mostar, Bugojno, Trbinje, Bijeljina, Velika Kladusa, Bihac, and Gorazde.
During the Bosnian war (1992-1995), combatants used landmines to protect frontlines, troops, roads, power lines, telecommunication stations, and water sources. In March 1992, the conflict began when Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH) declared its independence from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Soon after, a power struggle erupted between Bosnian Muslims, Serbs and Croats. In 1994, Bosnian Muslims joined Bosnian Croats to form the Bosnia Herzegovina Federation and fought against the Bosnian Serbs. During the war, the main dividing line between the two factions was called the Inter Entity Boundary Line. Landmines were laid along this line by both sides. After the war, mines were strewn along roads and scattered around homes to prevent refugees from returning home.
Years of conflict have left Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH) one of the most heavily-mined countries in Europe. The International Committee for the Red Cross recorded that in BiH between 1992 and 2001, there were 4,500 landmine casualties involving amputations, eye injuries, fragmentation wounds and outright death.
The war’s legacy includes many landmine survivors. Social and health protection systems eroded as a result of the war and were compounded by the country’s transition from a social welfare state to capitalist state. Citizens used to comprehensive social welfare protection witnessed their protections disappear, and post-conflict transition has been sluggish. For example, unemployment in the country is estimated at 40%. Among people with disabilities, that number rises to a staggering 80%. Discriminatory practices against people with disabilities are common, and laws for protection are either non-existent or not enforced.
Moreover, the new governmental structure became a large and inefficient decentralized system. For example, the Federation has 10 cantons (districts), each with a separate cantonal administration. In addition, the government has very limited powers at the national level. The complex structure makes it extremely difficult for survivors to learn about and assert their rights, and to receive the care they are entitled to.
To date, LSN-BiH Outreach Workers have assited more than 6,000 survivor. Survivor-to-survivor peer support includes home and hospital visits, job training and small business grants, and human rights and advocacy training.
Area: 51,129 sq km
GDP per capita: $6,100
Life expectancy: 72.57
Unemployment rate: 40%
Literacy rate: Not Available
Percentage under poverty line: Not Available
LSN Bosnia-Herzegovina At-a-Glance
Case load: 1,386
Avg. no. of peer support visits/year: 6,229
Small businesses supported: 294
Network Contact information
Dojcina Lukica 1
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Director: Plamenko Priganica
Mr. Plamenko Priganica has been the Director of LSN-Bosnia-Herzegovina since its inception. He lost his leg to a landmine during his military service in the Bosnian war. All network peer support staff are amputees.
LSN’s work in Bosnia-Herzegovina is supported by generous donations from the International Trust Fund and Rotary International, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Handicap International, the Government of Norway and the Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.