Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia is a republic made up of 3 ethnic groups. First, there are the Muslims who make up 44% of the population, then there are the Serbs who make 37%, and last but not least the Croatians who make up 19%. Bosnia was part of the Yugoslavian Federation until they declared independence in March of 1992. Croatia and Slovenia declared their independence in the summer of 1991. Clashes occurred between the Yugoslav pro-Serbian Army in Slovenia and local Serbs in Croatia. This created fear and disorder in Bosnia.
Bosnian-Croats and Muslims were scared of the new events and established a referendum. This was of type of vote in which the majority wins. Bosnian-Serbs boycotted the referendum because they were scared that Bosnia-Croats and Muslims would be the dominant group of Bosnia. They were also scared that they would be discriminated and loose power in the government. Following independence, armed conflicts set Muslims against the Serbs.
A civil war began because of this tension. In the beginning, the Croats and Muslims were allies against the Serbs. By the summer of 1992, two-thirds of the republic fell to Serbian forces. They started a policy of ethnic cleansing. Ethnic cleansing is the extermination of an ethnic group. The Serbs removed all non-Serbs from the territory they claimed. Yugoslavia, that is now made up of Montenegro and Serbia, supported Bosnian-Serbs with troops and equipment. An oil and trade embargo was imposed against Yugoslavia by the United Nations, in an attempted to stop the war. Bosnian-Croatian forces supported by Croatia, gained control of one-fifth of Bosnia. In July of 1992, Bosnian-Croats started to call for independence for the Croatian areas, which created fighting between the Bosnian-Croats and Muslims.
In June of 1992, the UN forces came into Bosnia in which they secured Sarajevo’s airport and protected roads for shipment of food and medicine. The UN created safe-heaven zones which protected cities from the fighting. In October, the UN began reporting incidents of human rights abuses. Even after this happened, the ethnic groups were still fighting.
In February of 1994, the Bosnian Croats and Muslims signed a cease-fire agreement with each other. They also agreed to form a joint federation government. In July, after a lot of pressure from the international community, Yugoslavia called on the Bosnian-Serbs to accept a proposed international peace plan, but the Serbs refused. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) began bombing Serb military targets and Serbs shelled Sarajevo.
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