The Bosnian parliament was blockaded overnight on Friday by parents angry at lawmakers’ inability to agree on registration for newborns.
Since February, babies have not been given birth certificates, due to a row over the number of allocations between the different factions in the country.
Hundreds of young mothers and fathers gathered yesterday blowing whistles and shouting slogans in a demonstration sparked by the case of a baby needing to go to hospital in Germany for stem cell treatment. But as she has no documentation, the infant cannot leave the country.
Fatima Ibrisevic, the baby’s mother spoke of her frustration: “We asked for an identification number from the municipality, but they told my husband that it could not be issued. They said they were willing to help, but there was nothing they could do”.
It is another example of the ethnic divisions that persist within the country despite the civil war ending in 1995. In essence, the Bosnian Serbs want an agreement that would reflect the territorial lines set up under the peace agreement.
But, the Bosnian Muslims, or Bosniaks, say this would cement the ethnic divisions. Since the end of the Bosnian conflict, central authority has been weak, and a system of quotas has stifled development.
Now a temporary measure has been adopted by the Government which unblocks the registration process for six months until, it is hoped, a new agreement is reached.