Serbian government adopted its first refugee program for Bosniaks that suffered from Milosevic’s nationalistic ruling between 1991 and 1999.
A program for the return of refugees and internally displaced Bosniaks [Serbian Muslims from Sandzak] from the municipality of Priboj, on the border between Serbia and Bosnia, has been adopted by the government on Thursday.
This four-year program envisages fixing the houses damaged during the war, reparations to those who suffered at the hands of Serbian authorities and facilitating the sustainable return of refugees.
According to government officials “the aim of the program is to show that Serbia will never again allow the expulsion of its citizens, or their emigration because of threats and fear for life.”
This program is the result of years of lobbying by Serbian humanitarian organizations, including the Humanitarian Law Center and Sandzak Committee for Freedom and Protection of Human Rights.
According to the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights, that will be running the project, in the first phase of the program, around 800,000 Euros will be spent on the reconstruction of destroyed homes.
During the conflicts in Bosnia, especially in 1992 and 1993, Bosniaks living in the border areas between Bosnia and Serbia, in towns such as Priboj, were subjected to harassment by the Yugoslav Army.
The majority of Bosniaks left the area, after which their houses were robbed and damaged.
It is estimated that roughly 20 villages around the town of Priboj were left desolated, while the number of people that left is still unknown.
According to the Humanitarian Law Center, several abductions and killings took place during August and October 1992 and between February and April 1993.
Hasan Mujovic and Sabahudin Catovic from the village of Sjeverin are still missing, while Musan Hasovic, Uzeir Bulatovic and Fatima Sarac were killed and their houses set alight.
Human right defenders welcomed the government’s decision, noting that this is the first official recognition of the injustice and violations that Bosniaks suffered from members of the Serbian military during the 90s.
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