Monday, November 12, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 12,2007) – Housing policies at all levels in Bosnia need to be harmonised with the needs and demands of socially threatened categories, and the state needs to develop a common strategy of approach to housing. This was stated in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo at the conference “Defining basics of the housing strategy in Bosnia, including the policy of taking care of the housing needs of socially threatened categories”.

The Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, together with the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and UNDP organised the conference.

Accessibility of the right to housing for socially threatened categories is in most cases guaranteed by international and domestic rights, but for many persons there are often numerous obstacles in exercising these rights.

The Bosnian Human Rights and Refugees Minister Safet Halilovic said that ensuring access to adequate housing is a challenge faced not only transition countries, but also all countries in Europe. This especially concerns the availability of the right to housing for socially threatened categories.

He said that an adequate legal framework needs to be created, as well as an appropriate institutional structure, and that housing policies that will ensure a non-discriminatory access to housing for all categories also need to be adopted.

“Persons who are socially threatened, as well as those with special needs, need to have specific assistance so that their specific requirements for housing are satisfied”, Halilovic said.

Head of the OSCE Human Rights Department James Rodehaver stressed that taking care of the housing needs of socially threatened categories is a priority issue that needs to be addressed.

He underlined that a comprehensive housing strategy needs to integrate for the first time diverse policies and programs that exist at the local level and ensure a more balanced approach to activities concerning the housing needs of socially threatened categories.

The OSCE Mission has prepared draft guidelines for the development of the housing policy for taking care of the housing needs of socially threatened categories based on human rights in order to help the Bosnian government so that the policy of taking care of housing needs is in accordance with international laws and human rights standards.

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Stefan Priesner said that the allocation of apartments for socially threatened categories of the population is important for the exercise of human rights.

The development of an appropriate policy and strategy for taking care of the housing needs will prevent social exclusion of these categories and reduce poverty.

Priesner concluded that it is necessary to harmonise standards in this field at all levels in Bosnia, and that attention especially needs to be dedicated to defining priorities in this field, as well as target groups.

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