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News 30 Mar 12

Report Highlights Young Bosnians' Political Apathy

Young people in Bosnia are critical of the way their country is run but have little interest in joining politics to change things, a new report shows.

Elvira Jukic

Young people in Bosnia are critical of democracy in the country, of politics, the education system and other aspects of life, but have little appetite to participate in changes, research by two NGOs shows.

The report by Bosnia's Nansen Dialogue Center and British Saferworld was presented on March 29 in Sarajevo.

Mustafa Cero, from the Nansen Center, said most of the young people interviewed, aged from 16 to 30, have no faith in politicians but at the same time are not interested in participating in politics.

“When they hear the word politics the main association is with corruption, enrichment and power,” Cero said, adding young Bosnians would like to see some younger politicians around.

Many young people are skeptical of the way democracy functions in Bosnia, saying it seems mainly about achieving personal gain and not benefiting the interests of citizens, said Cero.

They also expressed doubts about the aims of the international community present in the country.

“There are perceptions that international actors want permanent instability in Bosnia due to their own interests,” Cero said.

“On the other hand there is a great support for joining the EU and young people have big hopes of European integration.”

But the report also pointed out that young people also have mixed feelings about the EU since they fear they would be seen as source of cheap labour and natural wealth, such as water or wood.

Young people are also unsatisfied with the educational system, emphasizing most of all the concern that different schools teach different ethnic groups different subjects, especially history.

Corruption and nepotism are also mentioned as problems in the educational system, the report said. “Young people are extremely frustrated that nepotism and corruption prevail in Bosnian society,” Cero said.

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