International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Expert: Global Terrorism Index assessment of Bosnia based on fabricated data

December 3, 2020

The Global Terrorism Index 2020 said that there were two terrorist acts in Bosnia in 2019 and six in 2018, but professor Vlado Azinovic, an expert of terrorism, told N1 that he does not know of those attacks and that the report is based on “completely fabricated data.”

The Global Terrorism Index is published every year by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP), an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank “dedicated to shifting the world’s focus to peace as a positive, achievable, and tangible measure of human well-being and progress.”

This year’s Index said that Bosnia has recorded the largest improvement in Europe regarding the impact of terrorism, which is “very low” in the country.  

“Overall, since 2002, the impact of terrorism in Bosnia and Herzegovina has improved. Out of 24 attacks recorded since 2002 none were attributed to known terrorist groups. The majority of attacks were attributed to unknown perpetrators, five to Muslim extremists and one to the Wahhabi Movement. Seven fatalities were recorded between 2002 and 2019, with none recorded in 2019,” the Index said.

“As someone who lives here, I don’t know if those two, nor of those six (terrorist attacks),” said professor Vlado Azinovic.

He argued that it is unclear “who counts terrorist attacks, who classifies them as terrorist acts, who submitted such data and who, apart from the judiciary and security agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is competent to call something a terrorist act.”  

The conclusions on terrorism in Bosnia in the report is based on “completely fabricated data,” he said, adding that this puts the entire report into question.  

Azinovic stated that Bosnia currently does not have a problem with terrorism.  

The Interior Minister of Bosnia’s semi-autonomous Republika Srpska (RS) entity, Dragan Lukac, did not comment on the Index but said recently that the danger of terrorism is always present.  

Police forces in Bosnia, the region, and Europe must continue to exchange information to keep people who may be potential perpetrators of terrorist acts under control, he said.  

Lukac argued that there are still Muslim extremist communities in Bosnia where people were recruited to fight in foreign battlefields and that they must be put under control.

According to Azinovic, it is difficult to detect only one source of danger when it comes to terrorism, and more and more often, terrorist acts are being committed by individuals without a criminal record with authorities having no knowledge of their intentions.  

The problem in Bosnia and abroad is the “relatively small prison sentences” that people who the court established were members of ISIS have received, he said.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a492431/Expert-Global-Terrorism-Index-assessment-of-Bosnia-based-on-fabricated-data.html

Bosnian soldier sues Defense Ministry for not allowing her to wear hijab on duty

December 1, 2020

Emela Mujanovic, a member of Bosnia’s Armed Forces, sued Bosnia’s Defence Ministry arguing that she is being discriminated against after she was not allowed to wear her hijab, Radio Free Europe reported.

Mujanovic is a professional soldier who has been wearing a hijab or headscarf for nine years. Due to her decision to cover her head under Islamic regulations, she was first suspended and then relocated to a single-ethnicity barracks in Ustikolina, in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, as Radio Free Europe reported last year.

She sued the Defence Ministry on grounds of discrimination in March this year.

Her lawyer, Emir Kovacevic, told Radio Free Europe that, regardless of the fact that she is a member of the Armed Forces, she has the possibility to initiate a civil case before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina if her human rights were breached.

"We sued them on two grounds. The first ground is the violation of the right to freedom of religion, which is guaranteed by the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the European Convention on Human Rights. The second is discrimination, also based on religion,” he explained.

According to the rules on uniforms in Bosnia’s Armed Forces, "military personnel are not allowed to wear certain parts of military uniforms in combination with civilian clothes and/or equipment, as well as combinations of parts of different sets of military uniforms."

"It is not allowed to arbitrarily change the appearance, size, cut, and composition of a military uniform. Religious insignia can be worn with the uniform in such a way that it is not visible," the rulebook that was adopted in 2017, says.

Mujanovic started working in the Armed Forces in 2008 in the barracks in Zenica. After that, she went to school in Greece, where she remained until 2011 when she decided to start wearing a headscarf.

When she returned to the barracks in Pazaric, near Sarajevo, her superiors suggested to her that she should remove her headscarf.

She refused to do so and has first received a disciplinary note and was then relocated to a Bosniak-only barracks.

According to Radio Free Europe, the Defence Ministry has still not replied to any inquiries about the case.

Her lawyer said that the Armed Forces argue that, by wearing the headscarf, Mujanovic breached the rules on uniforms.

"With this lawsuit, we are challenging the rulebook that restricts Muslim women from wearing the hijab," he explained, arguing that this restriction is not in accordance with the European Convention.

According to available data, almost 270 women in the Armed Forces declare themselves as Bosniaks. Among them are a significant number of those who practice their religion regularly.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a491620/Bosnian-soldier-sues-Defense-Ministry-for-not-allowing-her-to-wear-hijab-on-duty.html

Bosnian Armed Forces proved their readiness in peacekeeping missions abroad

December 1, 2020

The adoption of the Law on the Service in the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina 15 years ago, initiated the process of the formation of the country's armed forces where, regardless of their ethnic or religious background, cadets can join and be equal with others in bearing the load of the profession required by the Armed Forces, the Croat member of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency, Zeljko Komsic, said Wednesday, marking the Day of Bosnia's Armed Forces.

“Our soldiers have proven their capabilities in solving greatest challenges by serving within UN and NATO peace missions, taking part in very complex and demanding tasks, which led to them receiving high marks in these supranational organizations.”, Komsic said.

The Croat Presidency member congratulated the Armed Forces and Defence Ministry on fulfilling over 70 percent of the country’s reform program in difficult circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Despite many difficulties, primarily in financial terms, the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina are making continuous progress from year to year, and are proving to be a guarantee for the stability of the state and protection of the territorial integrity of the country. I am convinced that you will continue to perform your tasks successfully, both in the country and abroad. I wish all members of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina a happy Day of the Armed Forces of BiH," Komsic concluded.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a491390/Bosnian-Armed-Forces-proved-their-readiness-in-peacekeeping-missions-abroad.html

North Macedonia increasing presence in NATO, EU, UN peacekeeping missions

November 28, 2020

North Macedonia will increase its presence in the KFOR mission in Kosovo in 2021 and extend its engagement in the Althea Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Defence Minister Radmila Sekerinska announced.

Speaking at a virtual press conference, the minister said the Army of North Macedonia will intensify its international presence in the NATO, European Union and United Nations missions.

“We are increasing our international presence. We are starting the next year with 73 peacekeeping officers and will end it with 199. We are staying to contribute to the peace and safety in the missions led by the NATO, EU and UN,” said Sekerinska., presenting the budget of its ministry for 2021.

She specified that the members of the Army of North Macedonia are present in Afghanistan now but that their number is reducing.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a677534/North-Macedonia-increasing-presence-in-NATO-EU-UN-peacekeeping-missions.html

Bosnia and Serbia plan joint military exercise

November 24, 2020

For the first time after the armed conflicts of the 1990s, the armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia will engage in a joint military exercise on Bosnian territory.

“This is a regular cooperation within the operational capability program required by NATO,” Bosnian Defence Minister Sifet Podzic told Radio Free Europe.

“That's a standard cooperation we had before and will have in the future,” he added.

The Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina approved the exercise on November 19, days before the anniversary of the Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the 1992-95 Bosnian war. It will take place next year on Mount Manjaca.

Podzic explained the exercise was planned within the regional cooperation program stipulated by the US-Adriatic Charter – strategic partnership towards the integration into Europe's political, economic, security and defense institutions.

The Charter was founded in 2003 by Albania, Croatia, North Macedonia, and the US, in order to help the aspiring countries to join NATO.

Bosnia and Montenegro officially joined in 2008, while Serbia has a status of observer.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a675945/Bosnia-and-Serbia-plan-joint-military-exercise.html

VS' military exercise with live ammunition on November 30 in southern Serbia

November 20, 2020

The Army of Serbia (VS) announced its exercise with live ammunition and explosives at the training ground near the southwestern town of Prokuplje on November 30, from 10 am to 3 pm.

"The area of the training ground will be marked by a red flag and guarded, while the roads leading to the site will be bear signs 'Don't go further, mines," a statement from the municipality said.

People have been warned about possible "remaining dangerous non-exploded devices which could go off at the slightest contact.

"People should report to the police or the Prokuplje garrison if they find any of such devices," the statement added.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a674499/VS-military-exercise-with-combat-ammunition-explosives-on-November-30-in-southern-Serbia.html

Man arrested for threatening Serbian President

November 18, 2020

A 30-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday night for threatening Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Facebook, the Security Information Agency (BIA) said in a press release.

It said that BIA agents working with the High-Tech Crime Prosecution and police arrested a man identified only by his initials for calling for the murder of the president on several occassions.

One of the posts said that the man was following Vucic through the crosshairs of his sniper rifle. A caption to a picture of Vucic, Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic and Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency member Milorad Dodik read: “Those two were removed and you Aleksandar Vucic will be solved by a sniper. You know, the red dot that follows you when you turn off the lights in your bedroom”.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a673769/Man-arrested-for-threatening-Serbian-President.html

German press: Balkans - weapons supermarket, hotbed of Islamism?

November 6, 2020

The terrorist from Vienna used Serbia's 'Zastava' rifle, as well as the terrorists in Paris in 2015, the German' Die Welt' said, while 'Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung' wrote about Islam and Islamism in Northern Macedonia and Kosovo, Deutsche Welle, DW, reported on Friday.

The report titled 'Trail from Vienna Leads to Weapons Supermarket' begins with the description of a photo posted on Instagram by Kujtim F, a terrorist who killed four and wounded more than 20 people in Vienna on Monday, with the photo reading: 'Muhammad is the Messenger of God.'

"But the weapon he was photographed with says a lot more about him," Alfred Hakensberger wrote, and added "the automatic rifle and pistol are of the same brand as the weapons used by ISIS terrorists in the Paris attacks in 2015. That includes Serbia-made  Zastava rifle M70. With that Serbia's version of a Russian Kalashnikov (AK-47), Kujtim F. shot at innocent people in Vienna. A Tokarev pistol was found near him was the same type of the gun the French police found on some of the attackers in Paris," the report said.

Metodi Hadzi-Janev, a military and security analyst from North Macedonia, told Die Welt he was not surprised that"the Viennese attacker was also armed with weapons from a Serbia's company." 

"There are a lot of flag rifles and they can be obtained cheaply on the black market. They are easy to maintain, reliable and easy to use. You can buy them through Darknet and directly from criminal networks, which are very powerful and influential in Serbia and other Southeast countries. Europe," he added.

Die Welt said Haxhi-Janev, was one of the five authors who, after extensive research in June, published a study by the Institute for Tactics on Illegal and Legal Arms Trade in Southeast Europe, which also focused on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

"According to the report, the business model is simple. Weapons are legally bought and taken out of the country. Then they get new certificates somewhere and are delivered in completely different places, not to the originally mentioned buyer countries. Rifles from Bulgaria, mortar grenades from Serbia, ammunition and rocket launchers from Croatia reach terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and the 'Islamic State' in Syria, Libya, Yemen and Iraq," the Die Welt report read.

It added that "new weapons come from factories in Serbia and Croatia, and besides, millions of used weapons are in circulation, which was 'lost' in the turmoil of the civil war, after the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s."

The situation in the Balkans is worrying, the report says, and adds that Germany, together with France, has launched an initiative a year ago to suppress the illegal arms trade left after the wars in Yugoslavia.

It is being worked on in cooperation with the European Union which has announced a five-year 'Action Plan' to combat the illicit arms trade in July this year, calling the Balkans "the main arms supply route."

According to the German Foreign Ministry, six million small arms are in circulation, many of which could end up in EU member states.

However, Haxhi-Janev says the purchase of weapons in the countries of the former Yugoslavia can be completely legal.

"But what happens after is often forbidden, especially when goods are delivered to war zones, which are often under international embargo, he said, describing the Balkans as a weapon supermarket." 

"Anyone with any organisational skills can acquire a weapon, as a terrorist has done in Vienna. Fortunately, the assassin was not a good shooter. He fired more than 150 bullets. If he had been trained militarily, there would have been many more victims," Haxhi said.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung titled its report by Michael Martens 'Allah is our Commander,' in which the author dealt with Islam and Islamism in Northern Macedonia and Kosovo following the Vienna attack.
He said the assassin apparently became radicalised in Vienna, that he was connected to Islam through his parents, - but not to Islamism - which "is still a marginal phenomenon" in Northern Macedonia, where Muslims make up a little more than a quarter of the population.

"However, the relatively liberal interpretation of Islam practised by many Muslims in the Balkans has also come under pressure," the report said, quoting an Austrian historian and Albanologist, who has been doing ground researches in Kosovo and northern Macedonia for decades.
"The most noticeable are covered women and men in typical shorts that you meet more and more often in the streets," Robert Pichler said about the situation in Kosovo, and Tetovo and Gostivar in North Macedonia.

Many new mosques change the landscape with their size and height of their minarets. Ten to 15 years ago at weddings, it was still quite normal for guests to drink, but there is no more of that today. Near the mosques, it is no longer greetings in Albanian, but in Arabic with Selam Alaykum. The influence of hodjas and imams, who think it is bad to go out in the evening, listen to Western music, drink and smoke, has noticeably increased, "

However," he added, "such developments have met with much more opposition in Kosovo than among more conservative Albanian Muslims in North Macedonia."

Kosovo, which is fighting Arab influence, has strengthened Turkey's importance, for example through imams who are educated there," Pichler said

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung also quoted Pichler as saying he met "Muslims in North Macedonia with a distinctly anti-Western attitude," which he called strict believers, "who strive for an order based on Sharia law. And one of them told him - Allah is our Commander."

The paper added that "the intensive activities of many humanitarian Islamic organisations from the Arab region that came after the 1989-1999 war in Kosovo were committed to spreading the reactionary orientation of Islam in the area.

In North Macedonia, too, "many Muslims faced a radically different interpretation of their religion - which had been misunderstood by the older generation of Albanian Muslims socialised in communist Yugoslavia and which they reject. "

"That older generation is especially shaken by the attack in Vienna. They want to prove that they are Westerners. It is a shame for the parents' generation when their sons convert to Islamism. It deeply affects them," Pichler was quoted as saying.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a669106/German-press-Balkans-supermarket-of-weapons-hotbed-of-Islamism.html

Krusik employee killed in missile explosion

November 2, 2020

The Serbian Defense Ministry said on Monday that one Krusik munitions plant employee was killed and another injured in the explosion of a missile warhaed at a training ground outside the city of Valjevo.

The Valjevo-based Krusik plant was the subject of a scandal last year after whistleblower Aleksandar Obradovic disclosed dubious arms sales deals involving the late father of current Defense Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic.  

The ministry statement said that the men, identified only by their initials, were working on the warhead of an anti-armor missile at the Begove Vode training grounds. “The wounded worker was immediately transferred to hospital in Valjevo for treatment,” it said and added that the Krusik Holding Company immediately informed the authorities who will investigate.  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a667492/Krusik-employee-killed-in-missile-explosion.html

State Auditor's report shows hidden details of arms exports from Serbia

October 24, 2020

The companies through which Serbia's state-owned company Zastava Oruzje exported products to foreign markets last year, failed to submit all the documentation confirming how much they earned on sales, a move that potentially damaged this arms company, the State Audit Institution wrote in its report, Nova.rs reported Friday.

These are two companies, one of which is owned by Slobodan Tesic, while the other was owned by him during 2017 in the disputed amount of some €3.49 million, Nova.rs said.

In its financial reports for 2019, Zastava Oruzje reported revenues from the sale of finished products and services on the foreign market through companies - commissioners Vectura Trans Belgrade and "Partizan Tech" Belgrade in the amount of 410.9 million dinars based on incomplete documentation state auditors controlling the business reports of this company had determined.

"The company (Zastava Oruzje) recorded revenues from the sale of finished products and services on the foreign market, which was realized through sales via the above-mentioned commissioners, based on invoices issued to these commissioners, without obtaining a commission sales with accompanying documentation related to the transaction," the State Audit Institution said.

According to the auditor's report, contracts with foreign buyers, export licenses, documentation related to revenues, as well as documentation on incurred costs related to commission work: transportation, customs, insurance, commissions, etc., as well as evidence on payment of costs, were not submitted.

Zastava Oruzje stated in its business reports that ii earned 2.35 billion dinars, the auditor determined.

"Revenues from the sale of products on foreign markets were mostly realized through sales via commissioners in the amount of 1.5 billion dinars," the SAI pointed out, Nova reported.

These are, practically, exporting companies, with which Zastava Oruzje concludes contracts. Those companies, the so-called commission agents, then sell weapons on their own behalf for Zastava Oruzja, for which they have a permit from the Trade Ministry.

Zastava Oruzje exported its goods through nine companies. Exports in 2019 were worth 1.5 billion dinars. Among the exporters was the GIM, which is connected to the Krusik affair.

Vektura Trans had two contracts with Zastava Oruzje with a total value of 1,304,731 euros or 153,807,288 in dinar equivalent.
Not even after Zastava Oruzje request, the exporter Vectura Trans did not submit the document on the calculation of commission sales with the accompanying documentation related to the sale - nor did they submit "contracts with the foreign buyer, invoices to the foreign buyer, export licenses, documentation related to the collection, as well as documentation on the incurred costs related to the commission business: transportation, customs, insurance… etc.), which they were obliged to do under Article 780 of the Law on Obligations."

The exporter Partizan Tech also did not submit the document on the calculation of the commission of sales with the accompanying documentation, even after the request of Zastava Oruzja.

"Partizan Tech submitted the Single Customs Document (JCI) and the invoice of the commissioner to the foreign buyer as proof of the sale of commission goods in the total amount of 257,107,000 dinars. "Partizan Tech submitted the Single Customs Document (JCI) and the invoice of the commissioner to the foreign buyer as proof of the sale of commission goods in the total amount of 257,107,000 dinars. During the examination of the presented documents, it was found that the invoiced price of the product was identical to the price listed in invoices by the Company turned to a broker and to the price in commission agreements between the companies and commissioners," the Auditor wrote.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a664300/Nova.rs-State-Auditor-s-report-shows-hidden-details-of-arms-exports-from-Serbia.html

Bosnia's intelligence chief indicted for abuse of power

October23, 2020

Bosnia and Herzegovina prosecutors have indicted the director of the OSA security-intelligence agency, Osman Mehmedagic, charging him with abuse of power to establish the identity of the person who reported him for having an invalid university diploma and lacking the necessary qualifications for his job.

The local prosecutors also indicted OSA operative Muhamed Pekic for aiding and abetting Mehmedagic.

Mehmedagic and Pekic are charged with abusing their position and power as well as OSA's resources during August 2020 to obtain information and photos about the person who filed an anonymous complaint against Mehmedagic, warning that he has an invalid university diploma and lacks the necessary qualifications for his job. 

The local media reported earlier that Mehmedagic abused his power to obtain a recording from a post office in Sarajevo which he forwarded to the media to compromise Mirela Bubalo, an adviser to Federation entity Interior Minister Aljosa Campara.

He thus wanted to depict Bubalo as the person who did dirty jobs for Campara whom Mehmedagic sees as an opponent as Campara has pointed to the fact that the current OSA director lacks a valid university diploma.

Mehmedagic has been at the helm of OSA since 2015 and is now running for another term, but the biggest obstacle to his reappointment is the fact that he cannot prove to have a valid university diploma.

That is now subject to investigation in a separate case.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a663856/Bosnia-s-intelligence-chief-indicted-for-abuse-of-power.html

EP's Fajon will inform EU bodies about problems Serbia's military union faces

October 22, 2020

The Chair of the European Parliament Delegation to EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee, Tanja Fajon promised the head of the Military Union of Serbia (VSS), Novica Antic she would submit a report to the EU institutions and Parliament and do everything in her power to "help the Union protect its representatives and exercise the rights guaranteed by European regulations and conventions of the International Labour Organisation."

The talks, held late on Thursday via video link, was called upon the initiative of the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) of which the VSS is a member.

According to the VSS statement, the two discussed "the position of the Union, pressures and the obstruction of its work by the Defence Ministry and its head Aleksandar Vulin in the last three years."

Antic also informed Fajon about the dismissal of VSS Secretary-General Predrag Jevtic.

"The bad image of civil and workers' rights and freedoms that some representatives of the executive power send to the world does not contribute to Serbia's progress as an EU candidate country," the VSS statement said.

The Union added it regretted it had "to seek the protection of its basic freedoms and rights" outside Serbia's institutions and that it hoped that a new defence minister "will have understanding for the needs of members of the Army of Serbia (VS) and start a social dialogue with them."

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a663852/EP-s-Fajon-will-inform-EU-bodies-about-problems-Serbia-s-military-union-faces.html

Elite Serbian military police unit now under chief of staff’s command

October 20, 2020

Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin said on Tuesday that the elite Serbian military police unit Cobras are now an independent detachment under the direct command of the Chief of General Staff.

“The Cobras are not longer the Military Police Battalion. As of today, the Cobras are a detachment directly subordinate to the Chief of General Staff,” vulin said during a visit to the Cobras at the their barracks in Belgrade.

The Military Police Battalion for Special Purposes aka Cobras was subordinate to the Military Police Department of the General Staff. Analysts said that the decision is a symbolic show of appreciation for the fact that the Cobras are engaged in protecting state officials, primarily the president.  

Vulin said that the restoration of the status of detachment to the Cobras shows that the value of the unit and its specific duties have been recognized.  

“The Cobras will now be better and more efficient in their job. Their job is hard, responsible and we as military leaders have the task of making their job at least a little bit easier and their existence more certain. The Cobras are our elite unit taking care of some of the most important state officials in Serbia. We have invested a lot in their equipment and training and they are returning the favor in the best possible way,” he said.

Vulin said that the organization change increases their reaction speed, simplifies the chain of command and engagement, increases personnel numbers and career advancement opportunities.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a662843/Elite-Serbian-military-police-unit-now-under-chief-of-staff-s-command.html

Director of Bosnia's intelligence agency questioned by prosecutors

October 16, 2020

The director of Bosnia and Herzegovina's OSA security-intelligence agency, Osman Mehmedagic, was questioned on Friday by prosecutorial authorities following a two-week investigation due to possible abuse of power and suspect education qualifications.

According to available information, prosecutorial authorities have investigated whether Mehmedagic's university diploma is valid and whether he abused his powers to obtain recordings from a post office in Sarajevo which he forwarded to the media to compromise an adviser in the Federation entity's interior ministry, Mirela Bubalo.

Mehmedagic, who was accompanied by his attorney arrived at the prosecutor's office where he spent just under two hours. After leaving the building, he did not wish to make any comments to reporters who had gathered there.

"You'll read about it," he said while leaving.

Mehmedagic has been at the helm of OSA since 2015 and has been described as a very close associate of the Izetbegovic family.

That relationship has existed for years and Mehmedagic was a bodyguard for late president Alija Izetbegovic.

Mehmedagic is aspiring for another term as the director of OSA with the backing of the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), however, due to formal reasons and suspicion that his diploma is not valid, that could prove to be a problem.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a479128/Director-of-Bosnia-s-intelligence-agency-questioned-by-prosecutors.html

NGO: Half of the registered trafficking victims in Bosnia are children

October 18, 2020

Bosnia and Herzegovina is affected by crimes related to human trafficking, specifically forced child labour and begging, sexual exploitation, domestic service, child pornography, and child marriage, a charity and non-profit organisation World Vision warned on the occasion of European Anti-Trafficking Day.

The NGO warned that traffickers “prey upon domestic and foreign victims in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” and that sometimes they take victims from Bosnia and Herzegovina to other countries as well.

Larisa Klepac, the World Vision’s Director for Bosnia and Herzegovina pointed out that “61 potential victims of human trafficking were registered in BiH in 2019, with 36 being children.”

“We are deeply concerned about these children, especially since these numbers may not reflect the true scope of the problem given under-reporting and the relative invisibility of cases like forced child labour, child marriage and begging,” she stressed.

Acting through two complementary projects, with the support of the United States Department of State and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), acting in on behalf of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the World Vision BiH partnered with the Association Zemlja Djece (Earth Children) and the Roma Information Centre - Kali Sara to create a multi-sectoral approach that contributes to solving this insufficiently visible problem, the NGO said.

“World Vision BiH and our partners are taking critical steps to address trafficking. The development of a protocol for dealing with cases of begging, vagrancy, labour exploitation, and other forms of child abuse at the municipal and regional level in BiH, as well as improving access to mobile teams for the identification of (potential) victims of trafficking in the Western Balkans, are among these,” it added.

The organisation also said it was working to strengthen the identification and resilience of (potential) victims of trafficking, empower representatives of the Roma NGO sector, increase their involvement in the referral mechanism to combat trafficking, and generally raise awareness of this phenomenon.

“We need a decisive, coordinated effort and greater investment by the actors involved, but also increased education and the involvement by the local community and the general public to better address this devastating the problem,” said Dragana Bulic, a Project Manager for World Vision BiH.

 Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a479496/NGO-Half-of-the-registered-trafficking-victims-in-Bosnia-are-children.html

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