Unacceptable Politicization of Bosnia and Herzegovina Passports

Unacceptable Politicization of Bosnia and Herzegovina PassportsThe Congress of North American Bosniaks, an umbrella organization representing approximately 350,000 American and Canadian Bosniaks, strongly condemns the politicization of passport regulations by the minister of Civil Affairs, Mr. Sredoje Novic with the purpose of undermining the Bosnian statehood. In a recent statement, Mr. Novic said that he will investigate the circumstances under which an honorary Bosnian passport was issued to U2 front-man Bono. The statement was issued after Bono recently stated that an honorary Bosnian passport was one of his most cherished possessions.

The passport, which has already expired, was issued by late president Alija Izetbegovic as a token of gratitude for Bono’s tremendous humanitarian efforts during and after the war of Serbian and Montenegrin aggression. Bono is a friend of the Bosnian people, an icon in the music industry, and is held in equally high regard for his humanitarian and peace efforts around the world. It is clear that Mr. Novic, a Bosnian Serb, seeks to eliminate any good will towards Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in what is already a fierce campaign by various Serb politicians to undermine the symbols of Bosnian statehood while trying to strengthen those of the entity of Republika Srpska.

Mr. Novic is using the passport issue for political gain after a number of passports have been revoked over the past year to foreign fighters who fought alongside Bosnians during the war. The decision to investigate the circumstances of Bono’s passport is a shameful smear campaign of anyone associated with the Bosniak people. Politicians should be working for the benefit of all Bosnian citizens and not for political gain or the interest of any one entity or ethnic group. This also comes on the heels of a shocking decision by the EU Commission to discriminate against Bosniaks by denying them the same visa-free arrangements as the other ethnic groups of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

CNAB calls upon BiH authorities as well as the Office of the High Representative (OHR) to put an end to the politicization of the passport issues of all kinds. We urge a strengthening of the civil institutions and Bosnian sovereignty in accordance with the Constitution. We also request an immediate apology to be issued to Bono for the ordeal.

Semir Djulic, Spokesperson