I am very concerned about the spread of hate speech, glorification of war crimes and war criminals, and the revival of the ideology and rhetoric that led to the war in the ’90s, in Bosnia, said the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatovic in an interview with Fena news agency.
“I am also concerned about the lack of effective legislation, as many human rights concerns remain unresolved as if we have not learned any lessons from our past. This regrettable and worrying situation must change quickly and with tangible results,” she warned.
Mijatovic recalled that Bosnia has been a member of the Council of Europe (CoE) for 17 years and as such, the country accepted a number of obligations in the field democracy, the rule of law and the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The Human Rights Commissioner stressed that Bosnia must resolve ethnic divisions in education as soon as possible and abolish the system of ‘two schools under one roof.’
This system was set up as a temporary solution in areas where ethnic divisions were deep, but where children had to attend school. Different ethnic groups sent their children to different schools which were often in one building, divided by nothing more but a wired fence. Children would enter one building, but attend two school under different curricula. To this day, this system persists in many Bosnian towns
“If we want our children to grow in the spirit of diversity, tolerance and respect for others, if we want to give them the necessary antibodies to fight indoctrination, hatred and violence, we must educate them about the past, educate them to destroy myths, educate them about justice and equality for all,” Mijatovic added. “I think this is one of the biggest challenges facing Bosnia and the entire region.”
As a CoE member state, Bosnia must implement the European Court for Human Rights’ decisions, including the Sejdic-Finci verdict. Mijatovic added that the CoE will continue to urge Bosnia to implement these verdicts and to get its Constitution in line with the European Convention on Human rights.