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UN rights expert calls for greater integration of Bosnia and Herzgovina minorities

Independent UN human rights Rita Izsak called [press release] Wednesday for Bosnia and Herzgovina (BIH) [UN backgrounder] to do more to promote minority rights and unity. Izsak emphasized the need to encourage integration among the minority groups at all levels of society, specifically when dealing with education. She discussed the potential linguistic restraints in educating the groups together, but urged the government to find some way to bring the young members of these groups together in the classroom. During her nine-day visit to the region, she visited several returnee communities and expressed concern over their sustainability and the ethnic relations within the communities. A full report of the findings and recommendations is forthcoming.

The current state of ethnic relations is often overshadowed by trials in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website]. Most recently a former Bosnian Serb leader was given 300 hours to present his defense after being denied a new trial despite his claim that the prosecution failed to disclose certain information [JURIST reports] until after trial. In February, the tribunal sentenced [JURIST report] former president of the municipality for failure to testify. That same month former Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, Ratko Mladic [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], of being biased [JURIST report].

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