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Bosnians mourn baby victim of political wrangling

Bosnians mourn baby victim of political wrangling
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Thousands of Bosnians held a candle-lit vigil outside parliament to mourn the death of a baby who fell victim to political infighting in the ethnically divided country.

Three-month old Berina Hamidovic was one of many who had been denied papers because of a row between the different factions over the allocation of ID numbers.

Her parents say the delay in taking their daughter without a passport to Serbia for urgent treatment cost the girl her life.

“We took our child to Belgrade but we had to beg to do it. We couldn’t get an ID number for her from state authorities. We had to organise everything by ourselves, to get her across the border and back,” said Berina’s father, Emir Hamidovic.

The baby, who had a hole near her windpipe, contracted an infection and died. Serbian doctors had agreed to perform the surgery but Bosnian authorities reportedly refused to pay for it.

The protests at the institutional paralysis began two weeks ago. Ethnic divisions that prevented politicians from agreeing how to allocate ID numbers meant babies born since February were left unregistered.

The Serbians have been pressing for a new registration arrangement along territorial lines. Bosnian Muslims argue such a system would cement the ethnic divide.

Similar ethnic wrangles since the end of the 1992-95 Bosnian war have weakened central government, and blocked reforms and the country’s path towards membership of the European Union.