The Deputy Chairman of the Committee on the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region Milimir Vujadinovic held a meeting today in the National Assembly dedicated to the topic of preserving the property rights of Serbs in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Underlining the importance of this issue, Vujadinovic indicated that it is important to determine what has been done so far and what can be done further to stop the process of expropriation of Serbian property in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, stressing the importance of coordinating the activities of the institutions of the Republic of Serbia, Republic of Srpska and citizens' associations that deal with these issues.
Arnaud Guyon, Head of the Directorate for Cooperation with the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region, pointed out that the Directorate has worked intensively in the past year to inform the Serbs from Bosnia and Herzegovina who live in the region and the Diaspora who claim real estate rights in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Thanks to the campaign, conducted through embassies and consulates, the media and social networks, we have reached 2.5 million people, said Mr. Guyon, pointing out that in just two months, the number of citizens who turned to offices for professional legal assistance to persons from the Federation had doubled.
Representatives of the relevant institutions of the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Srpska spoke about the results of the activities aimed at preserving the property rights of Serbs in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Fund for Refugees, Displaced Persons and for Cooperation with Serbs in the Region of AP Vojvodina, Commissariat for Refugees and Migration, Republic of Serbia, Republic Authority for Geodetic and Property Affairs of the Republic of Srpska, Republic Secretariat for Displaced Persons and Migration of the Republic of Srpska, Committee for the Protection of the Rights of Serbs in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, local self-governments of the Republic of Srpska, as well as representatives of several citizen’s associations dealing with these issues.
The participants of the meeting agreed that the campaign to inform Serbs who have rights to immovable property in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina has yielded significant positive results, but there is still significant work to be done, bearing in mind that 400,000 persons of Serbian nationality claim rights to immovable property registered in the land registry records.
They particularly emphasised the importance of promoting and referring citizens to the Offices for professional legal assistance to persons from the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, of which there are six in Bosnia and Herzegovina -- in Banja Luka, East Sarajevo, Bijeljina, Mrkonjic Grad, Nevesinje and Zvornik, and two in Serbia -- in Belgrade and Novi Sad. The participants of the meeting agreed that these offices are fundamental institutional support mechanisms for citizens in the process of realising their property rights, and it is important to increase their capacity through larger budgets for operation and employment of additional legal experts.
These offices protect 8,408 square kilometres of the territory of the current Federation. The harmonisation of land registry and cadastral data in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is carried out in such a way that the invitation to citizens is published in the Official Gazette and daily newspapers, without a written invitation to the holders of rights to immovable property and the majority are not aware that any procedure is being carried out over their property and find out about it when it is too late, the participants of the meeting jointly assessed, pointing out that this is why it is very important that citizens contact the offices for professional legal assistance in a timely manner.
Concluding the meeting, the Deputy Chairman of the Committee on the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region Milimir Vujadinovic said that the institutions of the Republic of Serbia are available to individuals and civic associations, as well as the institutions of the Republic of Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, for help to resolve these problems, and that what they are doing at this level of government is actually an integral part of the overall policy of helping our people in the region, which has experienced serious progress in the last few years, primarily at the initiative of the President of Serbia. Vujadinovic said that the Republic of Serbia strives to transfer its political and economic progress to the region and diaspora where Serbs live.