Situation of Roma IDP’s and returnees in Tuzla canton and Bjelejina area in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2000

prepared by

Martin Demirovski
Consultant for the Roma Division
of the Council of Europe-Strasbourg, France

sponsored by
Joint Council of Europe/OSCE-ODIHR/European Commission

November 2000

    I. Background Information

In April 2000 Mr. Martin Demirovski with the support from the CPRSI in OSCE ODIHR-Warsaw, Poland has realized the first field mission in B&H. From that mission there is published a Report for the Electoral Participation and General Situation of Roma in B&H.

Finding very interesting the situation of Roma in B&H and wanting to follow the same, Mr. Demirovski has approached to the Roma section in the Council of Europe to sponsor his second mission in B&H. In a same time Council of Europe and OSCE ODIHR, both had their joint project about Roma under the Stability Pact and hired Mr. Demirovski as consultant.

Target group of this second mission are Roma Internally Displaced Persons, refugees and returnees in Tuzla Canton and partially Bijeljina area.

Host of the mission were Mr. Mehmed and Alaga Suljic, representatives of the Union of Roma, Lukavac, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Human Rights Department of the OSCE mission represented by Ms. Jo-Anne Bishop and Ms. Lejla Hadzimesic.

The mission was realized trough field visits of the Roma communities in B&H, meetings with Roma representatives and representatives of the International communities in B&H.

    II. Introduction of the Issue

The UNHCR Update of UNHCR’s Position on Categories of Persons from Bosnia and Herzegovina in Need of International Protection says:

As a result of the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H), some 1.2 million persons fled abroad, mainly to countries of the former Yugoslavia and Western Europe, while an additional 1.3 million people became internally displaced. B&H had a pre-war population of some 4.38 million people. Almost 60 per cent of the total population was affected by the conflict. As at end of May 2000 it is estimated that a total of 356,308 refugees from abroad, as well as 309,631 displaced persons within B&H have returned, whereof 143,380 are minority returns.

As always during every of the refugee movements there are people from different national minority groups, among them Roma too.

The same report of UNHCR, mentioned above further says that:

The situation of members of the Roma communities in B&H remains critical. Before the conflict many Roma lived in the Sarajevo, Zenica, Kakanj, Tuzla and North-Eastern Bosnia (Zvornik, Bijeljina) areas, but many of those who were displaced from what is now the RS are living abroad or are displaced in the Federation. Members of this group are even less integrated into the post-conflict Bosnian society than they were before the conflict as they have now slipped even more into “political invisibility”, since their interests are not being represented by any existing political party. Bosnian society, including authorities, continues their traditional discrimination and marginalisation of this minority group. The discrimination against the Roma manifests itself in subtle forms. Within the Roma community, discrimination, as well as lack of political and economic support networks have resulted in an amplification of post conflict themes, such as unemployment and lack of housing, with which other Bosnians are presently coping. In particular, the approach devised by the International Community to promote return to contested space (Property Legislation Implementation Plan / PLIP) seems to be particularly problematic for this group, as many Roma did not have legal entitlements to housing before the war. Extreme poverty and lack of education seem to be the Roma communities’ greatest handicaps.

The most representing Human or Roma Rights organizations, European Roma Rights Centre from Budapest is its Roma Rights reports many time mentioned the difficult situation of Roma IDP’s and returnees in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ms.Tatjana Peric- monitors coordinator from the European Roma Rights Centre-Budapest in the snapshots in Roma Rights report N.1 2000 publication is saying that:

Four years after the warring parties ratified the Dayton Peace Agreement that provided for the return of refugees into the country, Roma who have returned to Bosnia from western Europe still do not have access to their pre-war homes in the vast majority of cases. In Bijeljina, Republika Srpska entity, only eleven Romani families have managed to move the occupants of their houses out. Most persons who have been persuaded to leave occupied houses have demanded and received 3000-6000 German marks (around 1530-3060 euro). In some instances, up to six Romani families share one reclaimed house, according to the Sarajevo-based weekly Dani of November 20, 1999.

The magazine also wrote that in some cases, institutional bodies of the government of Republika Srpska are presently located in usurped Romani houses. Examples cited include the Institute for School Publishing and the Institute for Education of Republika Srpska, Secret Police, several institutions of the Republika Srpska Army, and the Ministry for Refugees and Displaced Persons. Several thousand Roma from Bijeljina are presently in Berlin, under threat of removal from Germany to Bosnia. The repatriation of Roma from Western Europe to the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other entity of the country, continues.

Mr Bajro Beganović told Dani that buses with Roma arrive very often from Berlin to Sarajevo and Tuzla, and that approximately 120 Romani families returned from Berlin to Zavidovići in central Bosnia during 1999. Sarajevo daily Dnevni avaz wrote on January 14, 2000, that in Zavidovići only three out of 120 Roma returnee families have permanent and satisfactory housing, while most others are temporarily placed in unauthorised and substandard locations. In the neighbouring municipality of Kakanj, the Roma settlement named Varda houses 108 families, out of which not a single one has water supply or sanitary infrastructure, and around one hundred school-aged children do not attend school. This is primarily because their living conditions hinder them from adequate preparation, according to Sarajevo daily Oslobodjenje on November 2, 1999.

Also some other International organizations, Human Rights organization like Amnesty International-London in its report about Bosnia and Herzegovina called “Waiting on the doorstep: minority returns to eastern Republika Srpska”, July 2000 says that:

A particular problematic situation with regard to minority return is that of the displaced Roma community originating from Bijeljina in northeastern Republika Srpska. The pre-war Roma community in Bijeljina numbers around 4, 500 of whom only 250 remained during the war. Many of those fled or were expelled from the are spent the war as refuges in Germany and have returning to Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1996 mostly to become displaced in Tuzla Canton, where some 2000 of them currently live. This group is very keen to return to Bijeljina, where the pre-war Roma community mainly lived in the town centre. The Roma also claim that, apart from the characteristic slowness in processing their applications and non-execution of OMI decisions, in order to regain possession of their property theu have been forced to pay sums of between 5 000-6 000 DM to the occupants.

    III. Brief information about Tuzla Canton-Tuzla Kanton (TK)

Tuzla Canton (TK) is located in the northeast corner of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the 1991 Census, the pre-conflict population of Tuzla Canton was 524,401 and the ethnic make-up was 69% Bosniac, 9% Bosnian Croat, 13% Bosnian Serb and 9% Other, which is meant to include Roma. Maybe, having and belonging to the category of OTHERS show the ignorant position toward Roma in that period. It is the same case again after the Dayton agreement, which mention just the three constitutional entities and category of others where all other national minority group belong like Roma, Turks, Albanians, and Jews etc.

According to the Statistical Institute, as of 30 June 1999, the population of TK was 533,557, which at that time included 142,554 DPs (27%). According to IOM estimates from July 1998 to August 1999, Tuzla Canton has received an estimated 22,166 repatriates from Germany alone, although these figures do not distinguish between returnees and DP’s.

Tuzla municipality is among the country’s few municipalities, which, to a certain extent, have remained multi-ethnic. Although Tuzla did experience minority displacement, it was not as a result of ethnic cleansing, but rather the minority communities’ apprehension at what the future might hold for them in a Muslim-dominated area.

    IV. Informations from the ground

In the area of Tuzla until now there was no any precise step toward Roma returnees and DP’s from the International communities. Just UNHCR has produced several reports about returnees and DP’s in Tuzla area in general, but with a very law percentage Roma are covered.

IV.1. Romani NGO’s in Tuzla Canton

There are few Romani NGO’s which exist in the area but they are not very influenced in the society. Among the “most known” could be mentioned the:

Union of Roma in B&H, represented by Mr. Mehmed Suljic in Lukavac
Sae Roma, represented by Saban Mujic in Tuzla

IV.2. Testimonies and real stories

After the meting with the representatives from the Union of Roma in B&H in Lukavac, Mr. Mehmed and Alaga Suiljic the consultant did a short visit of the Roma community in Lukavac, which is a small town in Tuzla Canton, actually close to Tuzla municipality.

The first visited place in Lukavac was the street 13 of September N.11 where there was visited the Roma family, Suljici.

IV.2. 1.

type of case: HEALTH CARE AND SOCIAL DISCRIMINATION

    interviewee: Ms. Hasnija Suljic 43 years old women
    story: Ms. Suljic is a blue eyes person who has a serous disease of tumor in her eyes.. She said to the consultant that her situation is very difficult and that she is not financially able to cover the expenses about here medical treatment in the hospital. Every of those expenses actually the pills cost higher then 200 DM and she has to order them from abroad. She has 3 sons and a daughter who are not employed and her family status is very hard and difficult. Ms.Suljic mentioned many times the case about her son when the Government was giving some benefits about the soldiers from the Bosnian ethnic war. Her soon was in the war 3 years and now nobody cares about him now.

    Her daughter begs on the streets in Lukavac how will earn some money to care about her mother.

    Ms. Suljic mentioned a very interesting case between Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The case is about Roma who were participating and who were not participating in the war in Bosnia. She said that:

    Roma who were in Western Europe have much more conditions/benefits then the Roma who stay whole period during the war. I am really not satisfied of my position in the society. That means that Roma in Bosnia are not treated well.

    She mentioned the elections too where she stated:

    Why I have to participate in the elections when nobody from the existed political parties are not interested about Roma and they even do not mention our name here.

IV.2. 2.

Interviewee: Seat Ahmetovic
type of case: HOUSING

    Seat Ahmetovic… his first house was in the area of Gornji Mosnik in Tuzla, street. Pasana Zahirovica N.93.

    He left Bosnia as an asylum seeker in Germany together with his family. Then he came in 1996 to see his house but he could not realize that because it was not permitted from his neighbors. His house was destroyed from the neighbors because of their anger why Roma left Bosnia during the war.

    This case cannot be taken as escape from the war because his leaving of Bosnia was before the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    In 1996, Mr. Ahmetovic tried to visit his house but he could not. Once, the same year, he tried to visit the house again and that time there was a fight with the neighbors. He immediately called the police. The reaction of the police was that they couldn’t react in appropriate way because their job is not to be involved in such a case with neighbors.

    This means that the police even knowing the case wanted to ignore it the whole because they are not interested in conflicts when a Roma person want to complain it was stated by Seat Ahmetovic.

    Also the police said that Seat’s visits of his place/house are his risk and they will not do any interventions toward his.

    note: This community is quite interesting because just the Roma houses are destroyed.

IV.2.3.

    interviewee: Mr. Kasim Jusic

type of case: HOUSING

    note: Mr. Kasim Jusic lives in Novo Naselje called Bistarac.

    Mr. Kasim Jusic informed the consultant that:

    In 1996 I have visited my prevouse house in Tuzla. I saw that is destroyed and I approached to the local Government to ask them Can I buy the land where I currently live now.

    The Local Government responded that he could buy the land where he live but he has to pay 5 300 DM and for the land. After the response from the Local Government Mr. Jusic paid the price for the land and all the taxes which in total cost 9 000 DM.

    After some time, in 1998 he applied to the Local Government to build a house on his bought land.

    The Local Government responded negatively and said:

    That he cannot build something on that land even that he paid/bought the land.

    But after their official response of the Local Government insisted to negotiate with Mr. Jusic where the Local government wanted to give him another land instead of the land, which Mr. Jusic bought. The Local Government wanted to deal with Ms. Jusic for any of the lands the forest area of Tuzla.

    Mr. Jusic was not agree with this decision or deal how his case is still open/unsolved.

IV.2.4.

Background information about Oskovo village


    Oskovo is a village is 6 km far from Zivince where the local population is mixed. The number of non-Roma houses in Oskovo are 40 on the other side there are 12 Roma houses.

    Most of the Roma families from the village collect old iron and after they sell to the companies, which are making that old iron in a new one. Also there are some Roma families who very often go beg in Sarajevo, Zivince and some other towns around the area.

    interviewee: Mr. Hasib Omerovic
    Mr. Omerovic is a Roma man from Bijeljina. The address of his house was on Josifa Korakole str. N.71.

    Hasib during the talk with the consultant stated:

    The war started … I had to leave in Germany with my wife and my four children When I arrived in Germany on 29.09.1991… I went to Dortmund I was there as an asylum seeker with my family. In Dortmund, I had some private problems there with the locals and I went to Berlin in 1992.
    In Berlin they did not like to accept me in their municipality as refugee and they suggested me to go back to Dortmund.
    I did not like to go back Dortmund because of the problems, which I had there then some of my relatives who were there in Berlin helped me to stay with them … but illegally. And I stayed for 2 years there… normal, illegally.
    After some period of time I took a lawyer whop will help me to stay in Berlin nut legally. Somehow I was successful in my idea and we made it my idea to come reality with the lawyer. After the decision I stayed in Berlin something like 2 years or more. In total I stayed there for 4 years including the 2 years of illegal staying.

    Then Berlin municipality told to Mr. Omerovic to go back to Dortmund. This decision from the Berlin municipality he did not like to respect and later Mr. Omerovic decided to stay another 6 months illegally.

    Sometimes in April the police caught me and arrested me put handcuffs and transferred me to Kopenik, which is a Berlin prison. I spent 16 days in the prison.

    After 16 days in the prison, the German police or Government … I do not know who put me in the plane and sent me back to Sarajevo.

    It was 17 of April 1998 when I arrived in Sarajevo. I came alone in Sarajevo and my family was in Germany.

    Sometimes later, the same is going to happen with his wife Djelebija Omerovic, born in 1961 in Bijeljina. Djelebija stayed in the prison for 45 days in Hanover. Later, she was transferred by bus to Tuzla.

    When I completed my family I found a flat with three rooms and I rented it for 250 DM per month. I stayed in that flat for 4 moths during I had a money which I earned working on the markets here in Sarajevo.

    Because I was curious what happened with my house in Bijeljina I decided to go and check what is going on with my house there. Nothing happened … just it was destroyed L

    Day after that visit of my house some of my neighbors put a bomb in my house and my house was fully destroyed. I think that some of my neighbor did this because he or she wanted to STOP me how I will not have opportunity to come back to my house.

    Then I came in Odorovici village in Zivinice and bought a land for us. We bought that land with our own money and also we invested in building a house for us.

    I do not have a job now and my wife too.

    I do not have a medical card

    The only work, which I am doing now … we are collecting old iron and selling after to the companies, which are buying of us later.

    When the consultant talked with one of the child of Hasib, the child told the consultant that he does not go to the school because there is no money for him to go to the school … because there is not way how his parents will cover his expenses for his education.

    Once, Hasib went to apply for an ID and other personal documents for himself, the people who represent the body responsible for this issues they said they will give ID but if he signed that he will never ask them for any aid. Hasib signed that document because he needed to have some identification document for him.

    I had many times some conflicts with my Gadje neigh bourse. They do not like us because we are Roma and we stayed together with them.

    There was a case once when I was listening a bit of loud music because my daughter came from Zagreb as a guest. My Gadje neighbour came to my garden and started to beat my wife because she approached to him with asking why he is so angry that we are listening that loud music. I saw that and then we had a fight in my garden. After that the police came and they did not give me any chance to talk with them and the only thing, which they said is that everything, what I am going to say will be false and to shut up my mouth. My soon now is out of my house because of the threats of the neighbours my soon that he will kill him instead of the police eyes.

IV.2.5.

    interviewee: Mr. Mehmed Mehic- president of Roma Association“Bahtalo
    Ilo”
    village: Savici

town: Banovici

    note: Savici is a village, which had 50 Roma houses before the war. During the war most of the Roma from the village went to Berlin.

    During the talk with the consultant Mr. Mehic stated:
    In 1994 I was in Berlin as most of my neigh bourse and I was as a refugee there with my family.
    In 1996 most of the Roma Roma who were in Berlin and in other towns in Germany, came back to Bosnia because German Government promised to the Roma that we will receive some kind of reparation from them. That pension will be like 15 000 per person and it will be given to all members from the family who are under 18 ages.
    The humanitarian organization CARE International started to build houses for Roma but they did not finish that process. Roma houses were very destroyed and the whole village. During the war all the goods from the Roma houses were stilled.
    During the war just four Roma families from the village stayed in their houses.
    Mr. Mehic Enes who was a mayor of Banovici said that he cannot permit rebuilding of our houses even that we had houses on the same place where we lived before the war.
    I asked him several times for a meeting and he refused that request but before the elections in April 2000 he asked me for a meeting with him where he would like to help us in some points as a Roma NGO.
    After some period of time all the Roma houses were built from our own money.

IV.2.6.

interviewee: Nedjad Jusic
type of case: STILLEN “ROMA LAND” BY THE LOCAL

          GOVERNAMENT

municipality: Tuzla
note:

    a) Mr. Jusic was born in 1970 in Tuzla. Nedjad is a student of law faculty in Sarajevo.
    Also he is a member in the commission for protection of Human Rights and freedom within the local municipality representing the Social Democratic Party.
    In a same time he is observer in the local council of the Tuzla municipality where he is representative in behalf of Roma, representing the UNION OF ROMA.

    b) During the war 14 Roma houses from that community were destroyed. In 1996 some Roma families showed interest to come back from Berlin. But it was not very good idea for them. Many of those Roma… returnee families had problems with the locals. In some of the cases there were a serous fight with between the Roma and locals.
    The reason for the tensions between the Roma and non-Roma in that municipality was the frustration of the non-Roma why the Roma left the municipality in the period when Bosnia had the difficult time.

    After such a cases majority of those Roma returned families went back again to Berlin.

In 1990, Sead (his brother) started to build the foundation of the house. And then in 1991 he finished building the structure of that house.

In 1992 when the war started Nedjad’s family went to Germany. During the war all of the three houses, which they had were destroyed from the local population. As in most of the cases toward Roma in B&H the locals wanted to show their anger why Roma left the community and went to Germany.

During Nedjad was in Berlin, he begun to organize the movement how better and easier Roma to come back to Bosnia. In a same time The Berlin Senat wanted to give them help and try to run projects for Roma with the money from the European Union.

Nedjad and some other Roma established contacts with the mayor from Tuzla. During those contacts the mayor of Tuzla municipality in one of his letter said that all Roma returnees could feel free to come back to Bosnia and Herzegovina and that everything will be safety for them in Tuzla.

In 1998 most of the Roma families came back from Germany to Tuzla. And again some similar cases as those in 1969 (noted above) with Roma returnees and the locals happened but not so loud as they were in that period.

Nedjad had his own case where the local municipality stilled his land where his brother in 1990 built a fondation for a house in the same land. During Nedjad was in Germany the local municipality of Tuzla built a memorial for soldiers who died during the forth years war. That memorial was built on his land and the local Government did not ask anyone from his family to build something like memorial. When he came back from Germany he saw that they built the memorial and because was very tens period. He did not like to ask the local municipality why they built the memorial on the land where the house of his brother used to be built.

IV.2.7.

    interviewee: Merdjan Ahmetovic (Roma who played in the Emir Kusturica’s movie TIME OF THE GYPSIES)
    Merdan Ahmetovic is Roma from Bjelina who during the war was in Germany as a refugee.

During the talk with the consultant Merdjan stated:

    I am 40 years old now… and I live in Mihatovici, which is a village in Tuzla.

    Before the war I worked as an agricultural worker around Yugoslavia

    Then in 1998 I recorded the movie Time of the Gypsies for 8 months with Emir Kustirica. After the movie I continued to work again as an agricultural worker

    Because the war stared in 1992 I went to Germany in Berlin. There… in Germany I had a refugee status. So, in 1998 I came back to Banovici because I could not go there in Bijeljina because of the difficult situation there with the Serbs and the whole story about Republika Srpska
    Because of that I rent a flat for 250 DM per month in which I had three rooms. In that flat and I stayed for 18 months. When I spent the money from Germany J I had to leave the place and then I went to Mihatovici where I still live. Until 24th of November … this year I have to leave that place because I do not have money to pay my rent about the house. So, I really do not know what I can do because the time is coming soon.

    I do not have a job, and it is very difficult for Roma to find a job and it is very rare to see that Roma work somewhere… in some companies or other places. Sometimes I am collecting old iron when there is a chance to do that stated Merdjan.

IV.2.8.

Interviewee: Mr. Alaga Alimanovic
village: Olanovica
municipality: Kalesija
note: The Roma in this village do not have a social care
Their leaving conditions are not so good
Nobody of them work
There are some Roma who are selling old stuff/goods in the local bazaar.

In 1992 when the war started all Roma families from that village left and went in different Western European countries. Some of the Roma went to Germany some of them in Switzerland etc. Just five Roma persons stayed in Olanovica in that time because they were older persons. There are 80 Roma houses in that village. The whole village is a Roma village.

    In 1994/95 there was initiative that the Berlin Senate wanted to sponsor building of Roma houses in Bosnia how Roma who were there in Berlin will come back to Bosnia. In that time Mr. Rasan Omerovic, Rom from the same village where we are now who is now in the States he was a contact person with the Berlin Senate about this Roma project. The list of those Roma houses, which had to be built, was created in Germany.
    Then the project stooped I do not know why stated Alaga

After some period of time Mr. Alaga Alimanovic renewed the project with the Berlin Senate. The project is to build Roma houses in Olanovica some of them to build as a new and some of them to be reconstructed.

    And then in May/June 2000, the project started in Olanovica, Mr. Bernd Warlick who is leading with the project from the Austrian NGO called Hillswerck said in our village that they will build 55 Roma houses in this village. The project is not finished yet. The houses for what Hilswerck is saying that are built that is not true because the standards, which were presented to us, are not respected at all. We would like to complain about this because all the promises, which were said to us, are not realized now. The money about the Roma houses were not just spend on Roma houses because there were cases where the money are going on building a Muslim houses stated Alaga

Also in this community the Roma noted cases where some people are corrupted and taking 2000 DM how the house of that person who is giving that money will be built. This means that people are buying their place on the list.

IV.3. Statistics, numbers and results

The following text is a statistic which comes from the Roma NGO “Sae Roma”-Tuzla, which did a short view toward Roma in Tuzla area. The results were collected from interviewed 206 Roma families or 865 Roma persons in the area of Tuzla.

From the asked 806 Roma

    - employed 18 or 2 %
    - retired persons 19 or 2.1 %
    - waiting for job 11 or 1.2.%
    - kids in the school 138 or 15.9 %
    - who are abroad 288 or 33.3 %
    - disabled persons 16 or 1.8 %

The UNHCR‘s Returnee Monitoring Framework (RMF) study in Tuzla Canton from January 2000 covers returnees and DP’s from different national minority groups. Fortunately, 53 Roma interviewee were covered in that research from whom 25 Roma DP’s and 28 Roma returnees. The RMF says that in:

    MUNICIPALITY

    ROMA DP’s

    RETURNEES

    BANOVICI

    10

    9

    KALESIJA

    0

    7

    GRADACAC

    6

    0

    TUZLA

    4

    7

    ZIVINICE

    5

    5

    SAPNA

    0

    0

The Tuzla office of the Save the Children Fund in B&H has a statistic where in which parts of the municipality in Tuzla Canton Roma settlements or mahalas exist.

MUNICIPALITY

NAMES OF THE SETLEMENTS

NUMBER

TUZLA

Sicki brod Bukinje . Crvene Njive .
Mosnicki Potok Ljubace Musnjac
Pasci Kiseljak Breze

9

LUKAVAC

Puracic Prokosovici Poljice
Kuljen Dobosnica Modrac
Gornje Crno Brdo

7

ZIVINICE

Savino Brdo Bisinka Stara Pruga Sjever 1
Rasadine Bisinka Nova Pruga Bucje
Bisinsko Naselje kod Groblja

7

GRACANICA

Skahovica Doborovci Donje Orahovica
Senik Smetljiste Javor

6

KALESIJA

Olanovica Lipovce Medas
Horozovina Staro Selo

5

SAPNA

Biberovici Vrla Strana

2

SREBRENIK

Ravnuse Duboki Potok

2

BANOVICI

Cubric Oskova

2

GRADACAC

Srnice Pozarike

2

KLADANJ

Vitalj

1

GORNJI RAHIC

Brodusa

1

CELIC

approx. 30 familiies

1

TEOCAK

Approx. 10 families

1

DOBOJ ISTOK

No community

0

UNHCR in its Returnee Monitoring Framework RMF, January 2000 has a table explanation of how many Roma and Bosnians DP’s have and do not have the DP card. We took just the number of how many Roma DP’s have/do not have the
DP card.

    Municipality

    Yes

    No

    Tuzla

    1

    3

    Sapna

    0

    0

    Gradacac

    6

    -

    Banovici

    7

    3

    Zivinice

    3

    2

    Kalesija

    0

    0

    IV.4. Roma story from Bijeljina

Before the war, Bijeljina Roma were the richest Roma in EX- Yugoslavia. Many of their houses now belong to Serbs and the Republika Srpska governmental bodies like the Ministry for Refugees and DP’s.

Ms. Iwona Safi from the OSCE mission in Bijeljina informed the consultant that the priority list of the OSCE work in Bijeljina is: property, rreturning, employment and education. Even having this “grateful priority list”, Ms. Safi said that they never received Roma clients or applicants. Which means that Roma cases never came on the desk of the OSCE in Bijeljina. Also she stated that OSCE in Bijeljina is aware that Roma houses now belong to the Republika Srpska Governmental bodies and that the process of returning Roma houses to Roma goes very slow.

    Freely can be said that until now there was no case where Roma house was given back to Roma except the cases where Roma had to give 2 000-8 000 DM for the person who stay in that house how the Serb will leave the house which belongs to the Roma which gave him that money said Mr. Pasaga Beganovic, representative of the Roma Association in Bijeljina.

Mr. Beganovic further said that before the war the Roma families like: Husic, Feratovic, Hidanovic, Mustafic, Beganovic, Hasimovic were the richest Roma in that town. Very interesting case was that a long period of time Mr. Karadjic spent in the house of Hasimovic family, which was the most exclusive and modern house. All of the above mentioned Roma families are abroad and applied their houses to be given back to them.

There was a case of manipulation with documents, which confirm ownership. The person who was in the house of Ms. Alimanovic Hurija manipulated and did a fake document that the house belongs to him not to Ms. Alimanovic Hurija. After that because Alimanovic Hurija is a housing case she had to improvise a “house” made of boards 30 m far from her own house i.e. in the yard of the house.

    Many Roma from Bijeljina came to visit their houses hoping that they will start a new life in their hometown but they had to go back because the situation is unsolved. This is how Roma dying slowly said Mr. Beganovic

The police of Republika Srpska DENIED the presence of the consultant on Bijeljina streets because the consultant was making photos of the Roma houses which now belong to Republika Srpska governmental bodies. Luckily, just one photo could be made. It was the photo of the Ministry for Refugees and DP’s.

    V. Conclusions and Recommendations

Many of the documents or reports are ends with the paragraph where the authors are writing their conclusions and recommendations. But because the author of this report is grateful for your time reading of the whole report gives you that freedom to make your own conclusions and if you are able and willing to recommend your points on the following addresses:

      1. Mr. Martin Demirovski
      Tode Dumba 80-8-14

1 300 Kumanovo
e-mail: dmartin@errc.org
martindemirovski@hotmail.com