CoE anti-racism body calls for actions to overcome ethnic divisions and intolerance in Bosnia

NEWS 25.06.202411:46 0 komentara

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has published its 6th monitoring cycle report on Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the report, while also highlighting progress made in some areas since the adoption of its previous report in 2016, ECRI emphasises once again the need for a fundamental paradigm shift to overcome the deeply entrenched resentments, mistrust and hatred that are still too often characterising inter-ethnic relations in the country.

On the positive side, the Council of Europe’s anti-racism commission welcomes the increase of the budget for the Institution of the Human Rights Ombudsman, and the considerable improvement of the situation for migrants, with the report noting that most migrants are housed in temporary reception centres.

Enhanced cooperation with the Mission of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in the country on recording hate crime cases is also noted as well as the fact that Sarajevo has successfully hosted three peaceful LGBTI pride parades. The report also finds that following previous criticism, the Republika Srpska education authorities have removed content that negatively portrayed Jehovah’s Witnesses in some school textbooks.

Despite these improvements, ECRI has identified several areas needing further attention and has made several recommendations to address these concerns.

The country’s political system is still fragmented along ethnic lines, based on the Dayton peace agreement that ended the Bosnian war in 1995. In spite of previous ECRI recommendations to comply with the 2009 European Court of Human Rights judgment in the Sejdic and Finci case, no progress has been made so far. ECRI once again calls on the authorities to take decisive action in this respect.

Similarly, previous ECRI recommendations to end all forms of ethnic segregation, including the system of “two schools under one roof”, and other forms of discrimination in schools and to ensure a fully integrated education system throughout the country have still not been implemented. In its report, ECRI therefore reiterates this recommendation. Furthermore, ECRI recommends introducing multi-perspective history teaching to promote tolerance.

Furthermore, the report supports providing additional funding to municipalities to establish or expand cultural learning centres and sports clubs that can transcend ethnic boundaries and promote integration, particularly among youth.

As concerns inter-ethnic hate speech, the report urges the extension of the Central Electoral Commission's mandate to monitor hate speech for the entire election campaign.

In terms of LGBTI equality, the commission calls on the authorities to implement a legal framework allowing same-sex couples to have their relationships legally recognised. They should also ensure that domestic law provides a clear, quick, and accessible process for transgender persons to obtain legal gender recognition.

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