The Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, one of ten administrative units in Bosnia's Federation (FBiH) entity passed constitutional amendments, declaring the Serb people a constituent ethnic group in this canton.
The amendments treat the rights of this ethnic group in terms of language and alphabet, so as of now the Serbian language and Cyrillic alphabet will be official in the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton.
“This is the continuation of the consistency of our policy where all constituent peoples are equal and feel equal on every part of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and can equally consume their all rights guaranteed by the Constitution. That also means the issue of legitimate representation, and we hope that this message from Mostar (the canton's administrative centre) and the HNC will echo further away when it comes to the Election Law changes, and that we will be absolutely and fully consistent, and ensure it for the representatives of the constituent peoples to manage their own political fate alone,” said HNC parliament deputy speaker Serif Spago.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is divided into two semi-autonomous regions, Bosniak-Croat shared Federation and Serb-majority Republika Srpska. While Republika Srpska is more centralised in terms of authority, the Federation is further divided into ten administrative units called cantons, each having its own government, parliament and constitution.
Although three major ethnic groups, the Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats should be equally represented in the whole country, it is often not the case in places where a given people is a minority.
On Monday, the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, mostly inhabited by the Croats and Bosniaks, solved the equality of the Serbs through amendments to its cantonal constitution.
“Today's adoption of all six proposed amendments made a huge step forward, but it is also a motivation for solving the open issues at all levels in Bosnia and Herzegovina through reform of Bosnia's Election Law and in line with all decisions of Bosnia's Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights,” said the Croat People's Assembly, a political organisation gathering all Croat-majority political parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The HNC Assembly also passed the amendment renaming the “Bosniak language” into the “Bosnian language,” which is how the Bosniaks call their mother tongue.