.- The provincial superior of the Franciscans in Bosnia, Father Mijo Dzolan, said last week that because talks over reform of the post-war constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina have collapsed, many Catholics have been forced to flee the country to escape discrimination.
During a visit to the international headquarters of Aid to the Church in Need in Germany, Father Dzolan explained, “Nothing has changed for the better for the Church. Catholics are still discriminated against by the constitution of Dayton (the Balkan peace agreement reached in 1995).”
Talks aimed at relieving discrimination against Catholics by altering the constitution have failed to bring about any solution, Fr. Dzolan revealed. “At a political level there is still division – some are pressing for the first steps of change, while others simply don’t see it as essential,” he said. Until the constitution is changed, the priest said it is difficult to see an end to the crisis which has driven more than half of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Catholics out of the country since the start of the Balkan war.
“We need to adjust the constitution to make people feel they can live safely and prosperously in Bosnia-Herzegovina,” Father Dzolan explained, adding that Catholics continued to seek refuge abroad, especially in Croatia, the USA, and Australia. “Catholics do not have a good political or cultural frame to live in. They feel helpless. They have no confidence that there will be any improvement,” he said.