BANJA LUKA, Bosnia (November 5,2008) - A Catholic bishop from the northern Bosnian city of Banja Luka has protested that neither the Bosnian government nor the international community is doing anything to enable Catholic refugees to return to their homes some thirteen years after the end of the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.
Bishop Franjo Komarica said he and his priests had expected that the Bosnian government and the international community would take steps to restore damaged infrastructure, but he fears the government does not seem to regard itself as responsible for the Catholics.
In the bishop’s view, the government appears to take the position that Catholics in Bosnia are the concern of the bishop, though Bishop Komarica pointed out that it is not the task of the Church to build homes, provide running water and repair roads.
According to the bishop, perhaps two percent of the Catholics who fled during thew war have returned. He added there was no discernable political will to implement the public declarations that Catholics could return to their homes.
“Our appeals, pleas and protests have gone unheard", said Bishop Komarica. "Justice in this case is being trampled underfoot! Why do human rights apply in Germany, France and the USA, for example, but not to us in Bosnia?"
The bishop explained that the Catholic Church wishes to make a “fruitful contribution to the future of Bosnia,” but he added: “in order to do so we must first be able to live here.”
Bishop Komarica said that he will not tire of speaking out for all those disenfranchised.