11 June 2009 – The Council of Europe Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities has just published its Opinion on Bosnia and Herzegovina, together with the Government´s comments.  

In this report, the Advisory Committee expresses its concern about the situation of the Kosovo Roma refugees and calls on the Bosnian authorities to guarantee the respect of their rights.

From the report:

125. The Advisory Committee notes with concern that persons having obtained refugee status in Bosnia and Herzegovina, mostly Roma from Kosovo, are faced with many difficulties in obtaining access to adequate housing and to employment. In addition, the Advisory Committee was informed that for many refugees who have purchased property, it remains difficult to have their ownership legally registered. Additionally, the Advisory Committee notes that many Roma from Kosovo have failed in their attempts to obtain refugee status and continue to live in Bosnia and Herzegovina under a temporary admission scheme, in precarious conditions. A satisfactory response to the refugees’ needs in terms of access to rights, as well as to the asylum seekers with respect to their legal status, is still lacking. This can result in a worsening socio-economic situation for these persons, their further marginalisation, as well as increased intolerance of society against them.

128. The Advisory Committee calls on the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to take effective measures so as to guarantee improved access to fundamental rights for refugees and to continue seeking means of granting asylum-seekers, in particular Roma from Kosovo, a clear legal status.

The full report is available here.