High Representative Valentin Inzko says it is shameful, 17 years after the signing of the Dayton peace deal, that so many people have never been able to return to their own homes.
Speaking at a round table on sustainable returns in the European Academy in Banja Luka, Inzko said that “more than shelter is needed for the re-integration” of those who were forced to leave their homes in the 1992-5 conflict.
“The extent to which citizens are able to honour loved ones who were killed during the war is a measure of how willing communities and individuals are to accept returnees and show understanding for their loss,” Inzko said.
The High Representative called on Bosnia’s authorities to redouble their efforts to ensure the full implementation of the returnee strategy.
“The right to return is a legal right in Bosnia and Herzegovina, yet a hundred thousand Bosnian citizens are still displaced and thousands live in collective accommodation,” he noted.
“This is unacceptable and ought to be rectified over 17 years after the [Dayton Ohio] Peace Agreement was signed,” added Inzko.
According to the UN’s refugee wing, UNHCR, there are still tens of thousands of refugees in Bosnia.