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Bjelave children: the search continues

Updated: Sep 21, 2018

On July 18th, 1992, a convoy of children, picked up from the Bjelave orphanage, left Sarajevo under siege. 46 never returned to Bosnia: they were given up for adoption, despite living biological parents. A tragic story, re-emerged from the dark

"I do not know anything about my mother. To know who generated me. I have wanted to see you all my life, at least one person in my family". This is Luca, Skyping from Milan with his Bosnian cousin Kenan in Sarajevo, filmed and broadcast in the report created in collaboration with OBCT by Rai journalist Andrea Oskari Rossini for "EstOvest", which earned him the Luchetta prize 2018.

Luca's story goes way back, in 1992, in Sarajevo at war, and there are other children like him. OBC Transeuropa has been following this story for years, and last summer it resurfaced from the dark thanks to an article I wrote in 2006 and following and recent investigations.

One day, in late July 2017, the newsroom's phone rang and a girl asked for me. Before I could ask for her name, in a high-pitched voice, she told me: "He's my boyfriend, the one they're looking for! I mean, that Amer is my boyfriend. Please help us!". I asked her to calm down and explain. "We have just read that comment, under your article: a Bosnian young man is looking for his cousins ​​Amer and Alen. Luca is Amer, he was adopted here in Italy. We have been looking for traces of his parents and Bosnian family for ten years!".

The article the girl refers to tells the story of Uzeir Kahvić, who since 1996 had been desperately looking for news of his daughter Sedina, sheltered in Italy during the war, but then given up for adoption instead of returning to Sarajevo after the conflict. A search that, at the date of the article, had not yet been completed.

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