|Table of Contents
1. Executive Summary 3
2. Introduction 9
3. The History of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina 12
4. Roma in the 1992 – 1995 War 15
5. Romani Representation in the Dayton State 21
5.1 The Sovereign State of Bosnia and Herzegovina 21
5.2 The Dayton Agreement 22
5.3 Obstacles to Romani Political Participation under the
Dayton Agreement 22
5.4 Reinforcing the Vulnerability of the Roma Minority 23
6. Citizenship and Access to Personal Documents 26
6.1 Access to Birth Certificates 26
6.2 Access to Personal Identification Cards 29
6.3 Access to Citizenship 30
6.4 Access to Documents Related to Wartime Military Service 32
6.5 Summary 33
7. The Treatment of Romani Refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina 34
8. Police Abuse of Roma 37
9. Racially Motivated Attacks on Roma 43
10. Housing and Property Rights of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina 48
10.1 The Right to Return 48
10.2 The Right to Property in the Aftermath of the 1992-1995 War 50
10.2.1 Repossession of Personal Property 52
10.2.2 Forced Evictions/Return to Informal Settlements 56
10.2.3 Repossession of Social Housing 62
10.3 Extremely Substandard Housing 63
10.4 Desecration of Sacred Grounds 66
11. Other Social and Economic Rights 68
11.1 Access to Employment 68
11.2 Access to Social Security 72
11.3 Access to Health Care 75
11.4 Access to Education 77
11.5 Access to Public Places and Services 85
12. Government Efforts to Date to Address the Situation of Roma and
Other Weak Groups 87
13. Conclusions 90
14. Bibliography 92
15. Summary in Romani 96
16. Endnotes 99
This report was produced by staff, interns, consultants and volunteers of/to the ERRC. Markus Baltzer, Sadik Pazarac and Tatjana Perić conducted field research in Bosnia and Herzegovina. David Mark and Monica Eav engaged in internet research, while Jasmina Pleše and Jelena Sesar assisted with press monitoring. Markus Baltzer wrote a first draft of the report, and Tatjana Perić edited and expanded the draft. Elena Marushiakova and Veselin Popov read all or part of one or more parts of the text and provided substantial comments and suggestions. Tara Bedard and Claude Cahn edited and rewrote one or more drafts. Dimitrina Petrova copy-edited the final version and authorised the publication of the report.
The ERRC is additionally grateful to the following persons and institutions for their assistance in the course of preparation of this report: Indira Bajramović, Sanela Bešić, Nijaz Biberović, Jo-Anne Bishop, Rita Bolstad, Mustafa Ćorić, Martin Demirovski, Jennifer Erickson, Lejla Hadžimešić, Lisa Kirkengen, Ahmet Mujić, Elvis Mujić, Šaban Mujić, Slobodan Nagradić, Blago Perić, Paul Prettitore, Dervo Sejdić, Miralem Tursinović, Centre for Civic Co-operation Livno, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Republika Srpska, Save the Children UK Sarajevo and Tuzla Offices, and UNHCR Representation in Bosnia and Herzegovina–Protection. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina provided a range of logistical and practical support for ERRC research in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The ERRC also wishes to thank all the Romani individuals who agreed to be interviewed, and whose testimony forms the basis of this report.
“I came back from Germany three years ago with my wife, who is handicapped, and my son. Our family had a house in Dubrave and 8,000 m2 of land next to the main road from Gradiška to Banja Luka. When we returned we found a Serb refugee family from Croatia living in the house. As we had nowhere else to go, some relatives let us stay in their garage. I immediately submitted a request for the return of my property. I often went to the local office of the Ministry of Refugees and Displaced Persons to see how far they had come with my application. They always sent me back and they told me to come back after one month. It went on like that for two years. Then they told me that they could not evict the Serb family because they had no other place to stay. They told me that the Serb’s property in Croatia had been destroyed and that he could not go back. This summer the officers at the Ministry told me that the best thing I could do was to sell my house and land to the temporary occupant.”
Mr Muharem Halilović, December 17, 2002, Gradiška, a village approximately 50 kilometres north of Banja Luka.
1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
There are few countries in which human rights are as richly guaranteed by law as they are in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina states, “Bosnia and Herzegovina and both Entities shall ensure the highest level of internationally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms.”1 The Constitution further gives priority to European human rights law over all other law,2 includes non-discrimination provisions and enshrines in the constitutional order a range of other international human rights agreements,3 including some not ratified by any other European state.4 These facts notwithstanding, certain provisions of both the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Constitutions of the two Entities prima facie discriminate against Roma and other “non-constituent peoples”, violating both themselves and international human rights law. The constitutional law of Bosnia and Herzegovina prevents Roma from enjoying a number of fundamental political rights. Bosnia and Herzegovina is the only country in Europe in which Roma are barred by law from holding crucial high political offices, including the Presidency. As members of a second class “non-constituent” people, Romani children in Bosnia and Herzegovina today can only aspire in vain to one day becoming president of their country.
European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) monitoring of the situation of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina has established that Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina are regularly exposed to abuses of their civil, political, economic and social rights as a result of their official second-class status in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and also because entrenched anti-Romani sentiment in Bosnia and Herzegovina gives rise to endemic racial discrimination and other human rights violations against Roma. In addition to being legally barred from holding high political office, many Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina are denied basic franchise and cannot vote because they lack one or more personal documents and/or may even be stateless. Lack of personal documents also results in the denial of a number of services crucial for the realisation of a range of fundamental rights, including schooling, public housing, health care and social support services. Many Roma have not been able to repossess their pre-war properties, and, as such, live in very precarious situations, often in informal settlements with substandard conditions in various parts of the country. In addition, instances of violence against Roma by state agents, as well as by non-state actors (i.e., their non-Romani neighbours) have been reported. Incidents of violence against Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina appeared to be on the rise as this report went to press.
The break-up of the former Yugoslavia and the wars that ensued had a devastating effect on Romani individuals and communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Roma were brutally treated by all parties to the conflict, and it is feared that as many as 30,000 Roma were subjected to ethnic cleansing. Many Roma were also detained and severely ill-treated in concentration camps, particularly Serb-run concentration camps. Roma and Romani communities were reportedly particularly targeted in Prijedor and the surrounding villages of Kozarac, Hambarine, Tukovi and Rizvanovići. Horrific atrocities were also committed against Roma from Vlasenica, Rogatica and in Zvornik and surrounding villages. At least seventy Roma were killed in the infamous massacre at Srebrenica in 1995. Romani men were also forcibly conscripted and made to perform slave labour in the armies of all sides to the conflict. Many Romani women were raped and/or forced to perform sex labour. The 1992-1995 war saw the wholesale destruction of a number of Romani communities. To date, justice has yet to be provided to Romani victims of actions during the 1992-1995 war.
In addition, although the majority of Bosnian Roma lived before the war in eastern Bosnia – in areas of the country today located in the entity known as Republika Srpska – today most Roma live in the area of Bosnia and Herzegovina known as the Federation, primarily in north-eastern Bosnia, the Tuzla Canton, or central Bosnia (Sarajevo, Zenica). Many thousands of Roma from Bosnia and Herzegovina have not returned to the country. The genocidal civil war fought in Bosnia and Herzegovina fundamentally altered the demography of Romani settlement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Perhaps more importantly for individuals concerned, vast numbers of Roma have been to date unable to claim pre-war property and have remained without adequate compensation for property confiscated or destroyed during the war.
This report is based on extensive field documentation undertaken by the ERRC, independently as well as in partnership with the Bijeljina-based non-governmental organisation Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Republika Srpska (HCHRRS), as well as with other non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Monitoring of the human rights situation of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina by the ERRC and the HCHRRS, has revealed a number of serious human rights concerns, including the following:
1. Exclusion of Roma from the Highest Levels of Political Participation
The Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina bars Roma from the offices of the Presidency and the House of Peoples. Only members of the three constituent peoples – Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs – are eligible to participate in the Presidency and the House of Peoples. Therefore, solely on the basis of their ethnicity, Roma are prohibited from even participating as candidates in elections for such offices. Roma are further barred from voting in the election of the representatives to the House of Peoples of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (an Entity-level institution with a very similar name to the national-level “House of Peoples),5 as only Bosniak and Croat delegates of the House of Peoples of the Federation are empowered to vote for representatives to the House of Peoples. Exclusion from political offices at the highest levels serves to reinforce the vulnerability of the Romani community in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
2. Difficulties in Accessing Personal Documents and Citizenship
Many Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina lack personal documents and, in extreme cases, citizenship. Instances of statelessness have been reported among Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Roma have encountered difficulties in accessing documents including but not limited to birth certificates, personal identification cards, documents related to the provision of health insurance and social aid, and passports. Barriers arising from a lack of documents can be daunting, and the lack of one document can lead to the inability of a person to access further documents. The lack of access to personal documents and citizenship threatens the ability of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina to gain access to services crucial to the realisation of a number of fundamental rights and freedoms, such as the right to vote, the right to adequate housing, the right to social assistance, the right to education and the right to the highest attainable standards of health.
3. Violence against Roma
In the context of persistent ethnic tensions and mistrust in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina, Roma have found themselves at the mercy of law enforcement agencies in which they have almost no representation. Police officers in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been the perpetrators of violent attacks on Roma; have specifically targeted Roma through ethnic profiling practices; have conducted abusive raids on Romani settlements; have accused Roma of crimes on the basis of little or no evidence; and have failed to adequately investigate crimes committed against Roma. Racially motivated attacks against Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina have also been documented during and since the end of the 1992-1995 war. Roma have in a number of incidents fallen victim to violent attack by non-Roma, resulting in very serious injuries in some cases. Verbal abuse and threats of violence against Roma are common in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
4. Violations of Housing and Property Rights
Many Roma have experienced difficulties in exercising their property rights and accessing the right to adequate housing in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina. Indeed, many Roma are still internally displaced within the country for a myriad of reasons. In some cases, Roma have been unable to return to their pre-war homes due to fear and/or impediments to return. The repossession of personal property by Roma has been left to the discretion of local (generally non-Romani) authorities slow to remove temporary occupants from their property. In many of the cases of repossession of personal property by Roma of which the ERRC is aware, temporary occupants have vandalised or looted property before leaving. Many of the informal settlements in which Roma lived prior to the war have been destroyed and no adequate alternative accommodation has been made available to former inhabitants. Roma who have been able to return to informal settlements often find themselves at the mercy of local authorities eager to allocate their land for industrial or other economic development projects, while at the same time making no plans for the provision of alternative accommodation for Roma displaced through forced evictions. Roma living in informal settlements or who lived in social housing before the war are frequently excluded from the benefits of new property laws and are in many cases ineligible for the aid money that has poured into the country under reconstruction schemes. In such settlements, an adequate standard of living is not available. In extreme cases, very substandard conditions in such settlements have led to the death of vulnerable inhabitants. Further, Roma are frequently unable to rent private accommodation due to racial discrimination or poverty or both.
5. Obstacles to Accessing Other Fundamental Rights
Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina encounter obstacles to the exercise of their fundamental rights to employment, social aid, the highest attainable standard of health, and education. Roma are frequently blocked on arbitrary grounds from having access to the public services crucial for the realisation of a range of social and economic rights. In a number of cases documented by the ERRC and partner organisations, Romani individuals died apparently at least in part as a result of the failure of Bosnian authorities to provide basic services such as rudimentary health care. A very large number of Roma today face serious existential threats because of the extremely poor conditions in which they are forced to live.
On the basis of the findings of this report, the ERRC recommends that the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina (as well as the two Entity governments and, where relevant, municipal and cantonal authorities), adopt the following measures and policies in accordance with their respective competencies:
1. Without delay, amend the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina to enable full and meaningful participation by Roma, and all other non-constituent groups, at all levels of government in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
2. Facilitate access to citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina for those Roma residing in Bosnia and Herzegovina who are stateless and provide the necessary legal documents (such as birth certificates and personal identification cards) to all Roma not in possession of such documents.
3. Bring to justice all persons responsible for war crimes committed against Roma during the 1992-1995 war.
4. Ensure that no Romani refugees in Bosnia are returned to their country-of-origin to face persecution. Make available procedures for the full integration of Roma who are third-country nationals in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who have been in Bosnia and Herzegovina for periods of longer than five years, and who wish to become Bosnian citizens.
5. Adopt comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in compliance with the standards set in the European Council directives 2000/43 and 2000/76 and establish a strong specialised body to ensure its effective implementaion.
6. Carry out thorough and timely investigations into all alleged instances of police abuse of Roma, including violence, unlawful searches and seizure of property, malicious investigation of violence against Roma, harassment, and failure to investigate racially motivated crimes and/or protect potential victims of violent attacks. Take all measures necessary to ensure that Romani victims of police brutality have access to effective remedies and obtain adequate compensation.
7. Promptly bring those responsible for racially motivated crimes and other instances of violent human rights abuse against Roma to justice, and ensure that, when racial animosity motivates or otherwise influences a crime, it receives due judicial recognition.
8. Ensure Roma the right to repossession of pre-war property, including property acquired through de facto adverse possession. Take adequate and timely steps to ensure the removal of temporary occupants from Romani property and take appropriate legal action against temporary occupants who vandalise or loot Romani property prior to leaving.
9. Use all appropriate means to protect and promote the right to housing and guarantee protection against forced evictions. Guarantee security of tenure to Romani occupants of houses and land, ensuring, inter alia, a general protection from forced evictions. Guarantee due process in line with international standards related to forced evictions. Guarantee non-discrimination against Roma in processes related to forced evictions and the provision of alternate accommodation. Guarantee adequate pecuniary and non-pecuniary civil compensation as well as comprehensive criminal and administrative redress in cases of illegal forced evictions. Ensure that where forced evictions are unavoidable, no individuals are rendered homeless or vulnerable to other human rights abuses by making available adequate alternate housing, resettlement or access to productive land where those affected by evictions are unable to provide for themselves.
10. Order local authorities to provide, without delay, adequate potable water, electricity, waste removal, public transport, road provisions and other public infrastructure to those Romani settlements which presently lack one or more of the above;
11. In the interest of empowering Roma to take control of their own housing fate, provide an executive amnesty for “illegal” Romani settlements, granting title to land and property to persons factually resident on a particular plot, and establishing a “year zero” for the purposes of zoning and future regulation.
12. Allocate adequate resources to social housing projects and ensure that Roma have equal access to social housing.
13. Establish a national fund for Roma and others under the poverty line to have access to grants and/or low-interest loans for the purpose of improving their own housing.
14. In cases of reported abuses in the school system, such as exclusionary practices, physical and verbal assault, humiliating treatment, and failure by teachers and school administrators to protect Romani children from peer abuse, punish the parties responsible and implement measures aimed at preventing further abuse.
15. Undertake all measures necessary to ensure equal access to integrated education to Romani children and particularly Romani girls. Support Romani students in obtaining scholarships, books and travel expenses to attend school.
16. Develop and implement catch-up adult education programmes aimed at remedying legacies of substandard education and non-schooling of Roma.
17. Establish positive action measures to increase the numbers of Roma attending university and ensure that such persons are provided with the support necessary to complete their studies.
18. Develop curriculum resources for teaching Romani language, culture and history in schools, and make them available to all schools, so that all children in Bosnia and Herzegovina can learn of the contributions Roma have made to their society.
19. Adopt policy measures ensuring that Roma, and particularly Romani women, are able effectively to realise rights to employment, health care, and access to social welfare payments and to public goods and services.
20. Provide eligible Roma with equal access to state loans and other benefits for war veterans and members of families of Romani combatants killed in the 1992-1995 war.
21. Ensure that adequate legal assistance is available to victims of discrimination and human rights abuse by providing free legal services to indigents and members of weak groups, including Roma.
22. Proactively recruit Roma for professional positions in administration, the police force, and the judiciary, in order to counter patterns of under-representation and to take steps to remedy the exclusion of Roma from decision-making.
23. Undertake effective measures to ensure that local authorities register all persons factually residing in a given municipality, without regard to ethnicity. Conduct a new population census and undertake adequate measures to ensure full Romani participation in it.
24. Conduct systematic monitoring of access of Roma and other minorities to justice, education, housing, employment, health care and social services, and establish a mechanism for collecting and publishing disaggregated data in these fields, in a form readily comprehensible to members of the wider public.
25. Conduct public information campaigns on human rights and remedies available to victims of human rights abuse, including such public information campaigns addressed to the Romani communities.
26. Conduct comprehensive human rights and anti-racism training for national and local administrators, members of the police force, and the judiciary.
27. At the highest levels, speak out against racial discrimination against Roma and others, and make clear that racism will not be tolerated.
In a census conducted in 1991 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 8,864 persons registered themselves as members of the Romani community, out of a total population of 4,377,033.6 This data should, however, be treated with caution, as the census was conducted at a time of extreme ethnic and national tension and many Roma were reluctant to declare their ethnicity.7 According to a 1996 report on the situation of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina by the Council of Europe, there were an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina before the 1992-1995 war.8 Other sources report that the numbers of Roma in pre-war Bosnia could have been as high as 80,000.9 As for the current situation, the London-based Minority Rights Group considers the numbers of Roma to be around 40-50,000,10 and according to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, there are “10,000 to 40,000 Roma in BiH, although there could be as many as 60,000.”11 Local Romani activists put the number of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina even higher, estimating it to be 80,000 to 120,000 persons.12 The distribution of the Romani population is uneven, where the highest concentration is in the Tuzla Canton in the Federation, home to some 15,000 Roma.13 Before the Bosnian war, many of the Tuzla Canton’s Roma lived in the territory that now belongs to the Republika Srpska entity, but were forcibly displaced during the war as they fled persecution as Muslims in this predominantly Serb region. In comparison, the numbers of Roma in all of Republika Srpska today do not reach 10,000 persons, whereas it is considered that before the war the majority of Bosnian Roma lived on this territory.14 The Tuzla Canton is followed by Zenica-Doboj and Sarajevo cantons in terms of numbers of Roma living in them.15 During the course of research toward this report, many Romani activists in Bosnia and Herzegovina told the ERRC that they wish to see authorities undertake a new census in the near term, in order to establish an accurate figure of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There is also belief that the authorities are postponing the census because they may be “afraid of how many ‘others’ there would be.”16 At the time of writing this report, Romani organisations in Bosnia and Herzegovina were considering implementing an internal census as a solution.17
The ethnic tensions that surfaced in 1980 and which, in 1992, culminated in three years of bitter ethnic civil war, have contributed significantly to the social exclusion of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The relatively small Romani minority was not formally allied with any of the parties to the war and at no point during the civil war did Romani groups attempt to constitute themselves as a fourth combatant group in Bosnia’s ethnic war. There were Romani combatants in the formal and informal militaries of all three sides in the war, for the most part pressed into military service primarily due to the weakness of Roma in Bosnia, as well as the near-impossibility of remaining neutral during the war. When the terms of the peace settlement were negotiated, the situation of Roma was not taken into account. Indeed, the resulting peace treaty designed at Dayton and the post war Constitution institutionalised a state of Bosnia and Herzegovina which recognises three groups – Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs – as hegemonic, to the exclusion of other ethnic groups.
Misconceptions and stereotypes about Roma and their culture are pervasive in Bosnia and Herzegovina. From childhood, non-Roma hear stories about “Roma who steal children.” Other widely present prejudices include, for example, that Roma “maim their own children so that they can beg,” and that Roma “are not fit to live in a civilised world.”18 As the international charity Save the Children UK reports, “The prevailing view of Roma in almost all mainstream communities consists primarily of stereotypes, rather than a real knowledge, expressed in beliefs that most or all Roma beg, deal in contraband and are generally undisciplined.”19 Because of the prevailing stereotypes, and in order to prove their real worth, Roma must work or study much harder than their non-Romani counterparts simply to be recognised as their equals.20 Though there is no official data on interethnic marriages, marriages of Roma and non-Roma are reportedly very few, and non-Roma who marry Roma are often faced with disapproval up to ostracism by their non-Romani relatives.21 On the other hand, denial of existing racism appears to be prevalent in the Bosnian society. Racism is often viewed as “an issue that exists in other countries” and that needs not be raised in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Local media have perpetuated or promoted stereotypes about Roma. The majority of Romani activists in Bosnia and Herzegovina considered the treatment of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina by the media as biased. “When there is a Romani celebration, the journalists all come, but when there are problems and cases of discrimination, they are nowhere to be found,” an activist from Sarajevo told the ERRC.22 Specifying the ethnicity of Romani persons in articles showing Roma in a negative light is common in Bosnian press, and so are portrayals of Bosnian Roma as uneducated, uncivilised and/or with a proclivity to crime, even in major newspapers.23 Nevertheless, as emphasised by some Romani activists, Roma are for the most part not mentioned in the press at all.24 Only a few media outlets were reported as featuring regular Roma-related news in a realistic light.
An atmosphere of general neglect of Roma is pronounced among non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as well. NGOs rarely target Roma in the course of their work. Observers have noted that in some cases, NGO activists appear to share stereotypical views of Roma.25 Currently, most of training and capacity building activities conducted by NGOs do not include Romani participants.26 Some Romani activists stated to the ERRC that non-Romani organisations do not consult Romani organisations with regards to projects targeting Roma.27 The ERRC is also not aware of Romani persons employed for any positions of significance in mainstream (i.e., non-Romani) non-governmental organisations. Reportedly, international organisations have paid more attention to Romani issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina than NGOs, yet some activists stated that in this respect, too few of their ideas and proposals were indeed implemented.28 Even those international organisations which have explicitly addressed Romani issues have, however, done so primarily as a footnote to other activities, and not as the most visible and pronounced exclusion issue currently facing post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina, huge sums of money have poured into the country for the purposes of reconstruction aid, yet almost none of this has been to the benefit of Roma. There does not yet seem to be sufficient political will in Bosnia to tackle the grinding levels of discrimination and fundamental exclusion Roma face. In an interview with the ERRC, Mr Slobodan Nagradić, the Assistant Minister for Human Rights and Refugees, expressed the view that the situation of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina was “not the result of any deliberate policy to oppress Roma, either from the government’s side, or from the wider public. Rather, it must be seen as a very unfortunate side effect of the tensions in this country.”29 On December 10, 2003, according to the Bosnian daily Oslobodjenje, a number of Roma demonstrated peacefully on the streets of Sarajevo, decrying the poor human rights situation of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and noting the government’s record of neglect of Roma rights issues.
This report attempts to provide a comprehensive overview of the human rights situation of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a situation which at present gives rise to a range of very serious concerns. The ERRC is aware that the Romani minority is not the only group experiencing problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This report does not offer a comparative analysis of the situation of Roma to other groups. It focuses solely on the many and various human rights issues facing Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as on the inadequacy of efforts by public officials to date to address these issues. Nevertheless, on the basis of extensive research undertaken by the ERRC and partner organisations, it is the contention of the ERRC that Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina currently face a human rights emergency in need of serious, thorough-going and immediate redress, through the design and implementation of human-rights based policies specifically targeting Roma. The report is organised as follows:
■ The next chapters (3 and 4) provide an overview of the history of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina, followed by a description of the impact on Roma of the 1992-1995 ethnic civil war;
■ Chapters 5, 6 and 7 address issues related to the status of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as rights denial flowing from status issues. Examined in detail are:
– Denial of political rights as a result of the constitutional order of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as because of the problem of statelessness among Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina;
– Denial of social and economic rights due to a failure on the part of Bosnian authorities to provide Roma with documents crucial for the realisation of a range of public and other services in Bosnia and Herzegovina;
– Issues related to the treatment of Romani refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina;
■ Chapters 8 and 9 present ERRC research into the problem of violence – including racially motivated violence – against Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the comprehensive failure of Bosnian authorities to provide adequate redress to Romani victims of violent crime;
■ Chapter 10 addresses housing and property rights of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the complex of issues related to return to pre-war property and/or, where this is impossible, compensation for destroyed pre-war property;
■ Chapter 11 examines issues related to the realisation by Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina of fundamental social and economic rights, including the right to work, the right of access to social security, the right to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health, the right to equal education and the right of access, free from all forms of discrimination, to public places;
■ Chapter 12 presents a summary of efforts by the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina to date to strengthen the rights of Roma and other weak groups through policy and law.