news 25 Feb 13

Bosnian NGOs Lament Foreign Disinterest in Reforms

The international community would be satisfied with any kind of movement on constitutional reforms in Bosnia, regardless of its quality, a round table discussion in Sarajevo was told.

Elvira M. Jukic

International organisations in Bosnia are not interested in seeing structural reforms conducted in the country and would settle for any kind of progress that creates the illusion of change, an NGO round table in Sarajevo heard on Friday.

Kurt Basseuer, from the Democratic Policy Council, told the round table on constitutional reforms in Bosnia that the international community would settle for any type of change.

“We [foreigners] are pretending this is a natural democracy, but it's not, it's oligarchy,” Basseuer said, adding that the international community seems willing to allow Bosnian leaders to keep the current situation as it is.

Tija Memisevic of the Sarajevo-based European Research Center, one of the organisers of the round table, said that talks about constitutional changes, specifically about the implementation of the 2009 ‘Sejdic and Finci’ human rights ruling, are being led in the wrong way.

The Sejdic and Finci ruling by the European Court of Human Rights ordered Bosnia to change its constitution to allow minorities to run for the top governing posts currently reserved for candidates of three largest ethnic groups; Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats.

The round table gathered representatives of the non-governmental sector, analysts and media representatives to discuss the possibilities of finding common ground on long-stalled political attempts to change the constitutional system.

Speakers noted that there have been many different proposals for implementing the crucial human rights ruling, but that most of them did not deal with the core problem of discrimination against minorities.

Adnan Huskic, an analyst and professor from Sarajevo, said that political parties are content to look as if they are trying to achieve changes, while in fact preserving the status quo and buying time to remain in their positions.

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