More than a hundred families of civilian victims of war from Prijedor, after years of battle, could again get the right to receive benefits from the Federation government.
Edin Ramulic, vice-president of the association of wartime victim, Izvor, from the northern Bosnian town of Prijedor, has revealed that this NGO has been fighting for years for the rights of 195 Bosniak and Croat families who have returned to Republika Srpska.
He explains that after the end of the war in Bosnia, when a large number of non-Serb families moved to Bihac after being expelled from Prijedor, they had been receiving benefits from the Cantonal government in Bihac, where they were registered as refugees.
However, after returning to Republika Srpska in the early 2000’s, they were not allowed to receive financial aid by the Bihac authorities because they no longer had residence in that canton, and Republika Srpska refused to give them benefits because they had previously applied for them in Bihac.
After years of struggle, Ramulic explains, the authorities in Bihac, in coordination with the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has agreed to allow these persons to reapply for benefits, regardless of where they live, because they are unlikely to receive financial support from the Republika Srpska government.
“But there is always a catch… These people will not get any compensation retroactively for the years they had to live without these payments. It will be as if those years did not exist”, says Ramulic.
According to information from the Izvor association, approximately 100 families will benefit from the right to reapply.
“We have held a public meeting last month in Prijedor to educate families about their rights”, Ramulic says, “and next week we will go to our neighboring municipality Sanski Most to continue explaining what we have done, and what they can expect and how to reapply”.
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