mostar, bridge, river.jpg
Mostar, city with the largest population of Croats in Bosnia
Photograph: Photo by JPataG, used under CC0

The National Federation of Croatian Americans (NFCA) has proposed establishing a Croat-majority federal unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina to ensure equal status for Croats in that country, who are now in an inferior position to more numerous Bosniaks, according to a statement circulated to the media in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday.

Now may be the right time to consider merging several Croat-majority cantons into a federal unit. The path to a more secure, stable and consolidated Bosnia and Herzegovina as a successful nation-state is the empowerment of Croats and seriously dealing with their grievances, the NFCA said in a letter addressed to Valentin Inzko, the international community's High Representative in the country.

It said it expected the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council, which oversees the implementation of the peace agreement in the country, to support the demands of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina whose leadership had displayed maturity and a firm commitment to leading the rest of the country toward the EU.

"We look to the United States and the PIC to step up and fulfill their responsibilities to re-establish the institutional freedom and equality of BH Croats so that they can maximize their ambitions for their country," the letter says.

The organisation listed examples of institutional inequality of Croats, citing the illegitimate means in which Bosniaks and other non-Croats can elect the Croat-designated member of the country's presidency, and constitutional amendments that deprive or diminish the rights of Croats guaranteed and safeguarded within the House of Peoples, government and other key institutions and bodies within the Bosniak-Croat entity known as the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"Newly dictated amendments that solidify power with Bosniak representatives at the expense of Croats, placing Croats in an inferior position and allowing Bosniaks within the Federation of BiH to make decisions without the input and participation of BH Croats," says the letter, signed by NFCA president Steven Rukavina.

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