comment 23 Sep 16

Bosnian Serb Referendum Risks Reopening Pandora’s Box

Sunday’s controversial Bosnian Serb referendum, which directly contravenes decisions made by state and international authorities, will undermine the enforcement mechanisms of the 1995 Dayton peace accord.

Srecko Latal BIRN Sarajevo
A poster calling on Bosnia’s Serbs to vote in the referendum. Photo: Beta/Radivoje Pavicic.

The warmongering rhetoric which has in recent days infected politicians and media across the region, more vocal than it has been for almost two decades, was a telling prelude to the controversial referendum which Bosnia's Serb-dominated entity Republika Srpska is holding on Sunday.

The overall environment has been disturbingly reminiscent of the situation in the early 1990s, when the region was gripped by political tensions and when controversial referendums foreshadowed ethnic violence.

This situation has spread fears among the population across the region. Most people appeared to be fed up with ethnic tensions and focused on their economic and social wellbeing, but still unable or unwilling to persuade their political representatives to halt Bosnia and Herzegovina’s dangerous downfall.

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