The House of Representatives of Bosnia’s Federation (FBiH) entity adopted a ‘Declaration on the Protection of the Multi-Ethnic Character of BiH’ in which it condemned efforts “which aim to establish a system of ethno-territorial supremacy” in the country.
Last week, N1 broke the story that, according to diplomatic sources, High Representative Christian Schmidt plans to use his ‘Bonn Powers’ to impose measures to secure the re-functioning of Bosnia’s Federation (FBiH) by August 1. The draft decision contains changes to the Election Law.
While Schmidt’s plan was welcomed by Bosnian Croat political parties, most notably the Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH), opponents argue the changes would lead to further systematic divisions in the country based on ethnicity.
The news about Schmidt’s plan prompted thousands of BiH citizens to protest in front of the Office of the House of Representatives (OHR) in Sarajevo.
On Tuesday, the second day of the protest, the FBiH House of Representatives adopted its Declaration on the Protection of the Multi-Ethnic Character of BiH.
In the Declaration on the Protection of the Multi-Ethnic Character of BiH, the House of Representatives condemned efforts “which aim to establish a system of ethno-territorial supremacy” and strip minority ethnic groups in certain parts of the territory of BiH of their rights. Such tendencies, regardless of whether they came from within or outside of BiH, “in the long term lead to the collapse of the constitutional order of the state of BiH”, the Declaration said.
The FBiH House of Representatives called for the consistent application of legislation in BiH, which prohibits any form of segregation and discrimination of citizens. The MPs agreed that any intervention in the constitution by the High Representative, especially if it violates the aforementioned provisions, is outside the scope of his competencies.
The MPs call on all domestic and international institutions, especially the OHR, to refrain from taking any form of action that would represent a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Constitution of FBiH, provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of the United Nations, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of the UN, and non-compliance with the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights.
They also called on the OHR and all the signatories of the Dayton Peace Agreement to respect and consistently apply its provisions, according to which all three parties are obligated to, with full respect for each other's sovereign equality, resolve disputed issues by peaceful means and refrain from any actions, through the threat or use of force or in any other way, that would go against the territorial integrity and political independence of BiH.
In addition to the above, the MPs requested the consistent and complete implementation of Annex 7 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in BiH, which, among other things, stipulated that the parties will ensure that refugees and those in exile are enabled to return safely, without the risk of harassment, intimidation, persecution or discrimination, especially because of their ethnic origin, religion or political belief.
“We call on the OHR, in terms of the cited provisions, to do everything in order to ensure political conditions according to which special preference is not given to any specific group in areas populated by returnees and to abandon any measures that would further violate the above-cited principle defined in the General Framework Agreement for peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, reads the Declaration.
The document also calls on authorities in Croatia to stop their “public and active interference in the internal affairs of BiH” and their advocacy for a decision that “contradicts the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and the Constitution of BiH, which deepens discrimination and violates the state Constitution”.
MPs from the HDZ and the Croat National Assembly (HNS), the umbrella organisation of Bosnian Croat political parties, also proposed a declaration, but it was not supported by FBiH House of Representatives.