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“Ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1992-1995



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Dayton Agreement, 1995


DISPLACEMENT AND ETHNIC CLEANSING IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA IN THE 1990S


In spring 1992, the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina marked the beginning of a genocide campaign right in the middle of Europe: the town of Prijedor and the surrounding area was one of the first places to witness the so-called ethnic cleansing. The people living here became victims of massacres, deportations into camps, and displacement.

The shocking images from the Omarska camp and the displaced people and refugees who left the country dominated the headlines. Just a few months after the war had broken out, the Muslim population in Prijedor was reduced to a tenth of its original size. By the end of the war in 1995, about half of the 4,35 million inhabitants of Bosnia and Herzegovina had become refugees and displaced persons. Of the almost two million people affected, several hundred thousand have been able to return home to date, however only a fifth of them to what is now the Serbian sector. Prijedor – located in the Republic of Srpska – is an exception.

Due to the rapid reconstruction of the destroyed buildings, the district has one of the highest numbers of people returning. Several hundred thousand Bosnians still live abroad; many of them do not want to return.  The task of living together in peace, Muslims and Serbs alike, poses a difficult challenge for the returning citizens.

Andrea Schmelz, Netzwerk Migration in Europa e.V.

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