Bosnian Protesters Block Parliament Over ID Law Delay

Around 30 people spent the night in front of Bosnia's State Parliament, demanding resolution of the dispute over adoption of a new law on personal numbers.

Aound 30 protesters spent the night in front of Bosnia’s State Parliament, blocking the garage and the nearby street in protest over MPs’ failure to adopt a new law on personal numbers.

Anger over the logjam mounted this week following reports that a sick baby was unable to leave the country for an urgent operation in Germany as a result of the dispute. Bosnian nationals need personal numbers to obtain passports, ID cards and heath care cards.

Bosnia’s Council of Ministers on June 5 adopted a temporary measure on issuing personal numbers.

But the measure will be valid for only 180 days, the government said, and will not influence the ongoing dispute over the law on personal numbers.

The State Parliament is scheduled to vote on Thursday over Wednesday’s government measure concerning the issue of temporary personal numbers.

Meanwhile, others are joining the protest in front of the building, demanding a permanent solution so that they will not have to protest again in six months.

The parents and doctors of the sick baby girl, Belmina Ibrisevic, said her life was at risk as a result of the dispute.

“We have to go abroad for… transplantation of bone marrow,” Fatima told the media. “But when my husband went to the Interior Ministry to get a passport for our baby they told him their hands were tied.”

The Council of Ministers, the Bosnia’s state-level government, has repeatedly failed to adopt a new law on personal numbers – the number that every citizen obtains after birth.

The problem arose after Bosnia’s Constitutional Court abolished the existing law on IDs in February, saying the names of several municipalities in the country had to be changed first.

Bosnian Serb MPs in the State Parliament had complained that the law also did not respect the boundary between the country’s two autonomous entities, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska.

Some lawmakers from the Federation entity proposed adapting the existing law to take account of the court ruling but their colleagues from Republika Srpska wanted the law changed comprehensively.