It may seem paradoxical but, finally, Bosnia has its first Bosnian citizen. A few days ago, the birth of a baby was registered in Sarajevo and, for the first time, the child’s nationality was given as Bosnian. This odd tale began on 20 April 2014, when Kemal Šalaka wanted to register his newborn son. However, this was impossible in post-conflict Bosnia, since the constitution requires the ethnic and religious identity of citizens to be registered as either Bosniak (Muslim), Serb (Orthodox), Croatian (Catholic) or otherwise.
It didn’t recognise documents that present other statements or affiliations, rejecting the registration of a person as a free citizen. This has been a long journey for all but especially for today’s parents who don’t want their children to be labelled, either for their faith or their ethnicity. After a long legal battle lasting nine months, the positive outcome of the story at least gives hope for future normality for the new generation of the Balkan country: Farouk is the first Bosnian citizen to be officially registered.
by Nicola Dotto