Barbara Hendricks to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina

Briefing Notes, 19 March 1999

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 19 March 1999, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

The world-famous soprano, Barbara Hendricks, who is UNHCR's Goodwill Ambassador and who lives in Switzerland, travels to Bosnia tomorrow (20 March) to gather public support for UNHCR's Open Cities project. The project, which benefits 14 towns across Bosnia and Herzegovina, is designed to encourage the return of ethnic minorities to their pre-war homes. More than 15,000 people have gone back under the project.

Barbara Hendricks has vowed to use her public stature, influence and contacts to mobilize support for the "open cities" in Western Europe and in the USA. UNHCR sees minority returns as vital for the international effort to piece Bosnia and Herzegovina together.

Barbara Hendricks will visit the "open cities" of Travnik and Konjic on Sunday and Monday (March 21 and 22) respectively. She will also meet with a number of local and international officials. This is Ms Hendricks' second trip to Bosnia since the Dayton peace agreement.