More than a hundred thousand Bosnians returned to their pre-war homes last year -- most to areas where their own ethnic group is not a majority, UN officials report. In fact, last year was a record year for so-called "minority returns," with 102,000 out of a total of 110,000 returnees in 2002 heading back to regions where another ethnic group dominates. "We have come a really long way since the end of the war," Udo Janz, head of the UNHCR's Bosnia operations, told a news conference, Reuters reports, in a story posted at http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L05111081 The UN's refugee agency estimates that about half of those who fled or were evicted from their homes have returned. And, many who have not returned have established new lives abroad and have chosen not to go back, Janz said. By the end of last year, 170,000 homes had been reclaimed by their owners - 70% of all possible under new property laws, according to the UNHCR Web site. ...BUT ECONOMIC PROBLEMS CONTINUE. "Strikes and street protests are spreading across Bosnia fueled by discontent over plunging living standards," the Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR) said in a report last month. "Bosnian workers blame much of their worsening plight on the country's clumsy privatisation process, which has led to heavy job losses, and has been accompanied by huge wage backlogs and a mountain of company debt." The article is online at http://www.iwpr.net/index.pl?archive/bcr3/bcr3_200301_397_3_eng.txt
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