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    • BCSP presenting in Brussels research on problems people living in border regions face

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    • Date: 09 November 2011
      Together with its partner organizations the BCSP will present results of "People’s Peacemaking Perspective" project to the European Parliament, DG Enlargement and European External Action Service. The results will be also presented to the representatives of think-tank organizations in Brussels.

      The research we did with the British civil society organizations Saferworld (www.saferworld.org.uk) and Conciliation Resources (www.c-r.org) was aimed at providing critical information on territorial disputes and issues of border demarcations, as well as the problems citizens face due to unresolved territorial disputes and living problems in and around border areas.

      Preliminary findings indicate that the process of establishing borders between different republics and provinces of the former Yugoslavia has brought diverse challenges.

      • The Kosovo-Serbia boundary problems emanate from the deadlock between Serbia and Kosovo over Kosovo’s independence. Security and even environmental factors were found to have held up progress in other cases.
      • If disputed areas currently contain or previously contained military bases, the perceived military/strategic value of the area can be one of the factors delaying agreement over border demarcation.
      • While the issues raised do not suggest that boundary disputes carry an imminent risk of renewed conflict throughout the region, the violence witnessed in June 2011 in the north of Kosovo offers a clear warning sign of the powerful emotions that can be mobilised around disputed boundaries.
      • Slowness in resolving issues in a way that is sensitive to the needs and perspectives of the public is offering an opportunity for exploitation of these issues by extremists throughout the region.
      • Failure to resolve demarcation issues and raise border control standards likewise ensures that parts of the region maintain a reputation for being vulnerable to transnational organised crime, smuggling and people trafficking.

      The research will result in policy recommendations addressing the European Union and is designed to help solve territorial disputes in the Western Balkans.

      Aside from the BCSP, this research involves independent think-tanks from Bosnia and Herzegovina (Centre for Security Studies), Montenegro (Centre for Security Studies) and Kosovo (Kosovar Center for Security Studies and Forum for Civic Initiatives).

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