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Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Need for Belonging in a State of Minorities.

Elyse Wakelin

The Dayton Peace Agreement has created a nation of minorities; Bosnia and Herzegovina is a nation based on ethnic lines, where belonging to one of the three constituent groups is essential to an individual's ability to partake in political life. Drawing upon the works of Eldar Sarajlic and Davor Marko, this paper analyses the development of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a nation state and the emergence of belonging along ethnic lines. It does this by exploring the suitability of Consociational Democracy to ensure belonging and political equality in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through analysis of the ECHR case of Sejdic and Finci v. Bosnia and Herzegovina, this paper examines the wider implications of Bosnia and Herzegovina defining their peoples along ethnic lines, looking at the potential consequences of the failure to ensure all peoples are represented and have a sense of belonging. The case ruling highlights the need for a shift from the Dayton understanding of belonging, towards a European accepted sense of belonging that includes all peoples. I argue that the definition of national belonging along the line of constituent peoples is detrimental to the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina and that immediate change is necessary.

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