Half of Bosnians live in poverty

Half of all Bosnians are living below or near the poverty line, the international community's high representative in Bosnia has said.

    The Bosnian war created millions of refugees

    Paddy Ashdown said on Monday the biggest obstacle facing Bosnia was its poor economy.

    "We should have began reconstructing the economy sooner," he said.

    He made the comments after talks in Berlin with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer.

    Fischer promised Germany would continue to honour its obligations through this "difficult process" of getting the country back on its feet.

    The effort includes helping with economic reconstruction as well as the capture of suspected war criminals.

    Mixed success

    Ashdown praised the European Union's role in helping Bosnia, hailed the "success story" of last year's parliamentary and presidential elections, and the repatriation of a million war refugees.  

    Up to 250,000 Muslims, Croats
    and Serbs died in 1992-95 war

    However, the country is still struggling to recover from three years of bloody war during 1992-95.

    About 250,000 people died in the conflict between Bosnian Muslims, Croats and Serbs.

    Since then, international administration has helped the country maintain a fragile peace, but ethnic tensions persist with crime and corruption flourishing.

    Nearly half of the workforce is unemployed, the economy is moribund, and international aid is being reduced.

    Moreover, almost two thirds of the country's young people are desperate to leave, according to a United Nations survey carried out in 2002.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.