Saturday Mar 24, 201209:21 PM GMT
Bosnian veterans on hunger strike over payments
Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:20PM
Ivana Setic, Press TV, Sarajevo
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Bosnian veterans have gone on a hunger strike in a dispute with the government over pensions. They are demanding the government make good on promises it made two years ago when parliament changed the armed forces law.

Early retired Bosnia and Herzegovina's soldiers have gone on a hunger strike in front of Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The sleep-in protest started on Tuesday, March 20, in front of the Parliament and the Council of Ministers building in Sarajevo. But they have declared a hunger strike since Wednesday, March 21.

They hoped this would force state ministers to pay their pensions under the long-delayed 2012 budget. Some of them were unable to continue the protest and ended up in the emergency room in Sarajevo.

Military veterans who fought in the Bosnian war of the 1990s, all share the same problem, they have barely enough money to live on.

Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Vjekoslav Bevanda said the Council of Ministers will try to find a solution to this dispute.

Around 1,750 older soldiers were forced to retire as part of Bosnia's efforts to build a unified army after the 1992-95 war. The government promised them pensions ahead of a general election in October 2010 but has never paid them. Two years ago also Bosnia's state parliament changed the law regarding the armed forces, asking men over 35 to retire and promised to give their pensions if they did so.

To pay pensions for 2010, 2011 and this year, Bosnia and Herzegovina will have to provide approximately 15 million Euros. These men fought in war for their country and now they say they do not even have the minimal resources for themselves and their families. They say they will continue their strike until their demands are met.
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