chapter  13
6 Pages

Ethnic and Religious Diversity in the Balkan Area

ByCedomir Nestorovic

The Balkan area has always been a region of diversity from the ethnic and religious point of view. The only other areas in the world with a similar situation are Lebanon and the Caucasus.1 This is the most fragmented part of Europe and the source of many conflicts in the past, with the word ‘balkanisation’ used as a synonym of extreme diversity, and by extension, inextricable conflicts. We will cite just a few: the 1918 assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo which marked the beginning of the First World War, the stubborn resistance of the indigenous groups during the Second World War, the 19921995 war in Europe and the area of sole NA TO intervention in 1999. 2

Ethnic and religious diversity has been a modern phenomenon for some countries, as a result of recent immigration and the subsequent incorporation of these groups into the main population.3 This has not been the case in the Balkan area, where various communities with a strong sense of self-identification have co-existed for centuries. A few points should be noted when inspecting the map:

186 D i v e r s i t y i n t h e Wo r k p l a c e

As a result of this historical embeddedness, there are three components that are necessary for any analysis of this region. First, the disparate communities located in the area should be identified. Secondly, their members should be counted. Finally, their rights should be assessed.