The Bosniak-American Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BAACBH) is astounded by the announcement by Javier Solana, the European Union’s Foreign Policy High Representative, about the abolishment of visa travel requirements for citizens of Serbia and Montenegro, a new regime that excludes Bosnia and Herzegovina (B-H). The decision emphasizes that the European Union (EU) is not taking into consideration the implications this decision will have on B-H. The decision will consequently leave Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) as the only citizens of B-H without the possibility of visa-free travel to the EU. It will fuel ethnic divisions as the majority of Bosnian Croats hold dual Bosnian and Croatian citizenship and Bosnian Serbs hold both Bosnian and Serbian citizenship. Furthermore, it will undermine the democratic process of regional stability and reconciliation as both Serbia and Montenegro have been perpetrators of aggression against B-H.
The decision comes only three days after the 14th anniversary of the fall of Srebrenica, a declared United Nations (UN) safe haven, during which the lives of over 8,000 innocent Bosniak victims were brutally taken. BAACBH, a non-profit, non-governmental and non-partisan organization advocating on behalf of Bosnian-Americans, commemorated Srebrenica and the genocide that occurred in B-H, a tragic episode of human history that many said would never happen again. Today, sadly, we see those victims being forgotten, as the exclusion of B-H from the new visa regime means Bosniaks who have survived ethnic cleansing and genocide are persona non grata in the EU.
BAACBH urges the EU and the international community to examine the grave consequences of the exclusion of B-H from the new visa regime and act to rectify the situation.