The European Union strongly urges the Republika Srpska Government to withdraw without delay the draft RS Law on the Special Registry and Publicity of the Work of Non-Profit Organisations that the Republika Srpska National Assembly is due to examine at the session starting on 26 September. The European Union also strongly calls upon all members of the Republika Srpska National Assembly to oppose this draft law, which aims to intimidate and suppress civil society organisations by branding their representatives as "foreign agents".
Civil society organisations play a key role in democratic societies: they hold elected officials accountable, fight corruption, and strengthen the rule of law. That is why authoritarian regimes across the world attack them and label them as traitors. The worrying adoption of the amendments to the Republika Srpska criminal code that re-criminalised defamation already had a chilling effect on free speech in Republika Srpska. Adopting this new draft law would bring Republika Srpska closer to such regimes than to the European family.
The European Union is founded on the values of respect for human rights, freedom, democracy and the rule of law. These are protected by the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as of Republika Srpska and other legislation. This draft law directly contradicts the repeated commitments of the Republika Srpska leadership to advance European integration and specifically key priority 11 on civil society and key priority 12 on freedom of expression and of the media. The upcoming European Commission Report on Bosnia and Herzegovina will underline this very clearly.