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Bosnia: Republika Srpska Adopts Rights Reforms

Banja Luka, 5 April 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The parliament of Bosnia's Serb entity, Republika Srpska, yesterday adopted constitutional changes aimed at protecting the rights of non-Serbs. The amendments guarantee Muslims, Croats, and other groups representation in the government of the republic, and provide mechanisms to guard their rights and interests. The assembly voted 68 votes for and 13 against, with one abstention. One deputy was absent.

Parliamentary speaker Dragan Kalinic said the reforms will come into force after similar changes are adopted in the federation, expected later this month. Kalinic said the amendments contribute to democratic development in the country.

The amendments give Muslims and Croats the status of "constituent peoples" and set up mechanisms to restore multiethnicity in the Bosnian Serb administration. The amendments also provide for the creation of a Council of Peoples in the Bosnian Serb parliament to protect the interests of the constituent groups.