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Bosniaks in Montenegro

  • Profile

    According to the 2003 census, there are 48,184 Bosniaks in Montenegro. Most are concentrated in the Sandzak, where Bosniaks make up the majority in 3 villages.  Most Bosniaks are Muslim and speak Bosnian.

    Historical context

    Bosniaks converted to Islam during the Ottoman Empire. They have traditionally lived in the Sandzak, which straddles across the border between Serbia and Montenegro. Approximately 75,000 Bosniaks left the Sandzak in 1992-1993 as a result of intimidation and ethnic cleansing.  At the outset of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992, the pro-Milosevic Montenegrin government deported a grup of Bosniaks to break-away Republika Srpska, where they were executed.

    Current issues

    Bosniaks are under-represented in public life at the national level, and under-represented in state institutions, crucially the police. They are poorer than the majority in part due to the fact that the Sandzak is underdeveloped. Unemployment among the Bosniaks is higher than average in part due to targeted dismissals during the regime of Slobodan Milosevic.  In April 2007, the Montenegrin government settled a number of civil suits filed by the families of Bosniaks sent to their deaths in Republika Sprpska in 1992.  Despite paying out some restitution claims, the government faces additional lawsuits from Bosniak survivors of wartime detention camps.

    Updated June 2015

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