War veterans await new law in front of Parliament

War veterans await new law in front of Parliament Izvor: N1

Hundreds of war veterans have gathered on Tuesday in front of the Parliament of the Bosniak-Croat federation, to wait for the outcome of the extraordinary session dedicated to a Law that would regulate war veterans rights.

The veterans demand the publication of a single war veterans' registry, the abolition of the financing of veterans' associations, and a veterans' disability allowance.  

Bosnia is divided into two political entities - the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska and a Bosniak-Croat entity, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  

For more than a year Federation veterans have been protesting  and some of them even camping in front of the entity government, demanding the publication of a single war veterans' registry because they say they can not understand how come the Federation now has half a million veterans while it had much fewer soldiers during the war.  

They demand that the new Law include the issue of publishing a single veterans’ register that would include data on veterans’ allowances.

They also want to be monthly paid at least six BAM (EUR 3.06) for every day they spent in the armed forces during the war and they want the abolition of more than a thousand war veteran associations which they say keep draining the budget while doing nothing for them.  

The Federation entity Parliament was scheduled to discuss a law on veteran associations and veteran benefits that would suit the veterans but increase the spending so much that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned the new law could threaten long-term financial stability.  

Although the gathering is peaceful, the traffic in downtown Sarajevo has been blocked, the session delayed and police have put up fences around the building.  

"We don’t know what is going on in the Parliament. We don’t care how many associations there are, we want an end to their financing and for the money to be distributed differently," one of the protesters told N1.

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