Last Updated: Thursday, 23 November 2017, 12:01 GMT

World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Montenegro : Bosniaks

Publisher Minority Rights Group International
Publication Date 2008
Cite as Minority Rights Group International, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Montenegro : Bosniaks, 2008, available at: [accessed 23 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


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 Hercegovina 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.

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