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EAST SARAJEVO, MARCH 18 /SRNA/ - The Committee for the Protection of Rights of Serbs in the Federation of BiH /FBiH/ sent an open letter to parties and signatories to the General Framework Agreement for Peace in BiH, warning that the Una-Sana Canton Government is violating both the Dayton Peace Agreement and the rights of Serbs living in that Canton.


“The Una-Sana Canton Government has abused the current situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic, general instability and institutions’ focus on curbing the spread of the infection. The Una-Sana Canton Government is violating the Dayton Peace Agreement as it is housing refugees from Africa and Asia in the village of Lipa, Bihać Municipality, from where Serbs were expelled and where Annex 7 to the Dayton Peace Agreement has not been implemented,” says a press release from the Committee, signed by Committee president Đorđe Radanović.

According to him, the Una-Sana Canton Government and the City of Bihać are building a migrant camp in the pre-war Serbian village of Lipa, which is surrounded by the Serbian villages of Teočak, Dubovsko, Gorjevac, Gornja Suvaja and Krnjeuša.

He says that according to the 1991 population census, only Serbs lived in the area they were forced to flee in 1995. Some of them have not returned and some could not return as minimal conditions for normal life have never been met.

“Pre-war residents of Lipa have asked institutions hundreds of times for electricity to be restored to the village, for a road to be repaired, for the most basic conditions for life to be created. We have a written request that was signed by around 150 pre-war residents of the villages of Lipa and Teočak who ask that at least the electric distribution network be restored so that they could start reconstruction of their homes,” Radanović says.

He claims that it is absolutely clear to everyone who wants to see that the Dayton Peace Agreement is flagrantly being violated in a part pertaining to return.

According to him, domestic laws are also being violated despite the fact that the FBiH Criminal Code stipulates penalties for preventing the return.

Radanović says that the “City of Bihać and the Una-Sana Canton Government are not in charge of the policy regarding refugees and migration.”

The Committee for the Protection of Rights of Serbs in the FBiH called on representatives of the authorities at all levels in BiH and consular offices in Sarajevo, Mostar or Banjaluka to come to Lipa to see how decisions of the City of Bihać and the Una-Sana Canton Government are being implemented, namely, how a tent settlement and infrastructure for migrants are being built in the village where an international agreement in a part pertaining to the return should have been implemented.

Aware of the fact that the coronavirus pandemic is currently in the focus of all institutions of all governments in the world, we kindly ask you to find time to get engaged in the protection of the international Agreement for Peace in BiH, despite current circumstances,” says the press release from the Committee for the Protection of Rights of Serbs in the FBiH. /end/sg