Mahmutbegovic: Bosniaks in Zvornik Fight for the Right to Language


Vice President of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Melika Mahmutbegovic sent an open letter to the President of the entity Republika Srpska, Zcljka Cvijanović regarding discrimination against Bosniak pupils in Liplje near Zvornik under the education system of the entity of Republika Srpska.

“Dear Mrs. Cvijanovic, we were unpleasantly surprised by the news that at the beginning of the new school year, the parents of Bosniak pupils in Liplje near Zvornik were again forced to boycott classes in order to fight for one of their basic human rights – the right to language. We received with disbelief the news that in the 21st century, children in one part of our state of Bosnia and Herzegovina are forbidden to call their language by its historical name, and for reasons that are inexplicable, the RS institutions use other references to that same language, such as “the language of the Bosniak people” and other similar names unknown in the history, practice and science of this country.

She added that they are fully aware that even the average informed person knows that by using the name Bosnian language, the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina follow the nomination of their language, the continuity of which can be traced from the  Middle Ages in Bosnia to the present day.

According to the last census of 2013, there were 52.86 citizens of this country who said they speak the Bosnian language, therefore it should be noted that there are more of them than members of any individual ethnic group in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including Bosniaks, which indicates the grounding of the Bosnian language in the essence of this country.

“We truly believed that by the power of the authority of the President of the entity of Republika Srpska, your influence would help to end this extremely shameful practice in the entity’s education system, where the Bosnian language has been indirectly banned.

Instead, you labeled the demands of the parents of Bosniak pupils in Liplje near Zvornik as “political requests”, without even talking to them, thus exposing them, as well as their children, to additional stigmatization and discrimination in society,” warned Mahmutbegovic.

Such a thing, she assessed, is completely contrary to the letter and spirit of the Dayton Agreement and the Decision of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina from July 2000, both of which guarantee the right to return and the constituent status of the peoples on the entire territory of this country.

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