Thursday, March 27, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 27,2008) – The Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of the Council of Europe met with representatives of the Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees and the Bosnian Ministry of Security and discussed about overall position of minorities in Bosnia.

The Bosnian Minister of Human Rights and Refugees Safet Halilovic stated that the Bosnian government is working continuously on protection and improvement of the rights of national minorities and complete change of the law on protection of national minorities in Bosnia.

"We are aware of the fact that the implementation of this law and the Framework Convetion is condition with post-conflict situation in Bosnia and with the fact that the last population census was done in 1991. Its results do not even come close to showing real demographic state in the country”, stated Halilovic.

He pointed out that the law on protection of national minorities from 2003 recognizes 17 minority communities in Bosnia: Albanian, Montenegrin, Czech, Italian, Jewish, Hungarian, Macedonian, German, Polish, Roma, Romanian, Russian, Rusine, Slovak, Turkish and Ukrainian.

Minister Halilovic stated that the mentioned law clearly defines the obligation of constituting councils of national minorities with the Bosnian Parliament as advisory bodies. In this sense, the decision of forming these councils was adopted and announced in February and its fast operative and functionality is expected.

He also added that the amendments to the Election law of Bosnia opens possibility, more precisely prescribes obligations that minority communities depending on their percentage must participate in local authorities, municipal assemblies, as well as their participation on all level of government and executive powers in Bosnia.

Minister Halilovic reminded that the Bosnian government adopted the strategy for solving Roma problems as the largest minority in Bosnia and that the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees is preparing action plans for solving the problems of this population in the area of employment, healthcare and housing.

"It is realistic to expect the adoption of these documents in several weeks in the Bosnian Council of Ministers”, he explained.

Members of the Council of Europe delegation, Marju Lauristin, Eva Smith Asmussen and Francoise Kempf after the introductory speech of Minister Halilovic showed special interest in education of national minorities, employment and participation in election processes.

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