The Congress of North American Bosniaks (CNAB) welcomes the decision of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) ruling that the controversial Citizenship Act is unconstitutional. The Court ruled that the Bosnia and Herzegovina Parliament has six months to change the law which takes away the Bosnian-Herzegovinian citizenship to those citizens who have also become citizens of another country, except for those holding citizenship of countries with whom BiH has signed bilateral agreements on such issues. CNAB has repeatedly warned that the Citizenship Act discriminates against Bosniaks in the Diaspora because of the fact that the majority of them were forced to leave the country during the Bosnian war. Enforcement of the Citizenship Act in 2013 would have devastating consequences for relations between Bosniaks living outside of Bosnia and Herzegovina and their homeland.
This decision is extremely important in its intention to encourage more serious and long term solution in relation to the Bosnia-Herzegovinian diaspora. More must be done to improve the relations of the Bosnian government and the large number of citizens who now live in other countries. It is appalling that the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has an extremely high percentage of citizens who live outside of its borders, does not have an established Ministry for Diaspora relations which is necessary to adequately address the needs and concerns, especially of those citizens who were forced to leave as refugees.
CNAB will continue to lobby the state institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as all relevant institutions in the United States, Canada, and the European Union to call attention to the problems faced by Bosnians living abroad. Furthermore, we will continue to voice our concerns with human rights violations against Bosniaks in the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including obstruction to the return of refugees as well as the lack of progress in development and implementation of key reforms that would create the necessary conditions for the return of refugees to their homeland.
On behalf of CNAB,
Hamdija Čustović, CNAB spokesperson