Bosnia and Herzegovina

There are two classes of people: the rich and the poor. On the surface, walking the streets of Sarajevo, it looks a busy and thriving city. Only until you scratch away at the surface do you realise that for many people Bosnia is a desperate place. The poor have little hope of finding a job and future in the new country and for people who lost everything during the vicious war, there is little hope things are going to improve. Between 1992 and 1995 250,000 people were murdered, two million were displaced and countless others were raped, humiliated and traumatised.

Bosnians of all ethnic origins-Muslim; Croat and Serb, suffered. The motivation for starting the war was the attainment of power by Serb nationalists and the methods used were intended to destroy communities and demolish the social order so that a new one could be imposed. These actions have left a nation of damaged people. For EETEP, Bosnia today is a country that is on its way up. The problem is that for many, changes cannot come soon enough and this is why we will be there … to assist the people in their efforts to build better lives for themselves.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: A History

Bosnia and Herzegovina's declaration of sovereignty in October 1991 was followed by a declaration of independence from the former Yugoslavia on 3 March, 1992 after a referendum boycotted by ethnic Serbs. The Bosnian Serbs-supported by neighbouring Serbia and Montenegro-responded with armed resistance aimed at partitioning the republic along ethnic lines and joining Serb-held areas to form a Greater Serbia.

In March 1994, Bosniaks and Croats reduced the number of warring factions from three to two by signing an agreement creating a joint Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On 21 November, 1995, in Dayton, Ohio, the warring parties initiated a peace agreement that brought to a halt three years of interethnic civil strife (the final agreement was signed in Paris on 14 December, 1995). The Dayton Peace Accords retained Bosnia and Herzegovina's international boundaries and created a joint multi-ethnic and democratic government charged with conducting foreign, diplomatic, and fiscal policy. Also recognised was a second tier of government comprised of two entities roughly equal in size: the Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska (RS).

The Federation and RS governments were charged with overseeing most government functions. The Office of the High Representative (OHR) was established to oversee the implementation of the civilian aspects of the agreement. In 1995-96, a NATO-led international peacekeeping force (IFOR) of 60,000 troops served in Bosnia to implement and monitor the military aspects of the agreement. IFOR was succeeded by a smaller, NATO-led Stabilisation Force (SFOR) whose mission was to deter renewed hostilities. European Union peacekeeping troops (EUFOR) replaced SFOR in December 2004; their mission is to maintain peace and stability throughout the country.