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Stabilization and Progress in the Western Balkans

Proceedings of the Symposium 2010, Basel, Switzerland September 17-19


Edited By Dusan Simko and Ueli Mäder

For more than a decade, the Balkans have been a centre of crisis – armed conflicts have brought death, expulsion, destruction and untold suffering to the people. The postwar efforts of the West have failed to bring lasting stability and real progress so far.
The Symposium at Basel University was an interdisciplinary event where complex issues were elucidated by historians, geographers, sociologists and political scientists. The event enabled East and West European scholars and their American counterparts to exchange their somewhat divergent views. The speakers covered a broad range of subjects: historical causes, aspects of postwar economic and social development as well as sociocultural consequences of the democratization process. Special attention was devoted to the situation of minorities, the refugee problem and the security situation in the fragile states of the West Balkans and also to the responsibility of the EU and USA for the general stagnation in the area.
The Symposium was intended to illustrate differing interpretations of the events of the past ten years and to encourage discussion between speakers and participants at the event.


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ROZITA DIMOVA - ‘Duldung’ Trauma: Displacement, Protection and‘Tolerance’ of the Srebrenica Survivors in Berlin - 51


ROZITA DIMOVA ‘Duldung’ Trauma: Displacement, Protection and ‘Tolerance’ of the Srebrenica Survivors in Berlin* The war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) displaced more than 1,200,000 persons, 700,000 of whom have been living in many West- ern countries. Germany was among those that took most refugees in the early 1990s – around 320,000. Berlin was at the forefront of the humanitarian intervention, accepting approximately 30,000 re- fugees – more than Italy, France and the UK together.1 Wrapped in reunificiation euphoria, Berlin and its people appeared full of com- passion and willingness to assist those who were in need. Coming from all over the Bosnia and Herzegovina (with around 600 people being from Srebrenica, Potocari, and the surrounding areas), most of the refugees were placed in Heims (reception centres), receiving modest (but sufficient) financial support from the state and full medi- cal coverage. Legally, however, their status in the receiving country was not regulated according to the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Sta- tus of Refugees but by a so-called Duldung category, which literally meant ‘tolerated’ status. It required people to return to BiH as soon as the immediate fighting and danger ended. While the Duldung cate- gory was adopted by all EU members at a meeting in Maastricht in 1991, it was only in Germany (and especially in Berlin) that it was applied more than 15 years after the arrival of the refugees. The follow- ing story reveals how Duldung and the requirement to leave Berlin * This...

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