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Dayton - 5 years after

Briefing notes

Dayton - 5 years after

21 November 2000

Five years ago, the Dayton peace agreement put an end to the war in Bosnia. For some 2.2 million people uprooted by the war, it raised the hope of going back home. Despite a huge international effort and very real progress in erasing ethnic barriers and ensuring freedom of movement, reconciliation and minority returns, for a majority of those driven from their homes by the Bosnian war, return to their pre-war homes remains an unfulfilled dream.

Ever since the war ended in Bosnia, UNHCR has worked hard to make returns happen. Various efforts from fostering freedom of movement through inter-entity bus lines, reconciliation projects such as "open cities," as well as work on fair property legislation and repair of housing have borne some fruit. Today, there is freedom of movement in Bosnia and more and more people go back to live amid their former enemies.

Since Dayton, more than 100,000 people have gone back to live among their ex-enemies with the number growing each year. Altogether, more than 600,000 people have gone back. UNHCR will continue to push for more minority returns. But in the end it is up to Bosnia's ethnic groups to reject the logic of conflict and separation and embrace the logic of peace and multi-ethnicity.