Komsic addresses UN GA, warns of inequality and discrimination in BiH

NEWS 22.09.2021 18:10
Source: N1

Strengthening of ethnic policies in Bosnia and Herzegovina that are based on exclusivities and ethno-chauvinist tendencies, with the rise in religious intolerance in the Western Balkans is of great concern, Bosnia Presidency Chairman Zeljko Komsic said on Wednesday, addressing the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Komsic said that citizens of BiH are very sensitive when it comes to such “social disturbances,” given the 1992-95 war and the genocide that was committed in Srebrenica, as ruled by the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

“I would like to emphasise here, before you, that I come from a country that was considered a successful example of peace-building, but also of maintaining peace and institution-building in the context of the United Nations mandate. The Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina is part of an international peace agreement known as the Dayton Peace Agreement. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations and the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms are also an integral part of our Constitution,” said the Presidency Chairman, and added:

“However, in the last few years, our society has been under increasing pressure of striving for the degradation of fundamental human, civil, rights and the elimination of the individual, the citizen, as a subject of human rights. The complex institutional system of Bosnia and Herzegovina based on the Dayton Peace Agreement makes it difficult to reach a political consensus that would move my country from the Dayton Peace Agreement, which stopped the war, to a functioning state with the prospect of becoming a member of the European Union and NATO. all those values ​​dictated by democracy, the rule of law and the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

He pointed out the “selectivity in applying the international documents concerning human rights” in Bosnia and Herzegovina, stressing that protection of human rights should be one of the crucial conditions to create stable democracies that are ruled by peace and prosperity.

“But, if we see this through the political system of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the country I come from, then I would like to share with you several important elements that unfortunately fall under the other, negative side of this story,” he said.

Komsic continued by saying that the system of values, which is based on equality of all individuals in a society, does not exist in Bosnia and Herzegovina, mentioning five rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that determined discrimination or systemic inequality of Bosnian citizens to prove his point.

He warned that the situation is becoming even more complex with an attempts to impose “the existence of discrimination and inequality of citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina through emphasising of ethnic affiliation of a part of citizens, seeking for the rights for ethnic communities that the neighbouring countries support but always at the expense of fundamental human rights.”

“This means that collective rights, which are not part of international legal acts, are put above the human rights of individuals. Let me state that such a thing is unacceptable at this time,” Komsic underlined.

The Presidency Chairman also warned about the glorification of war criminals which was seen in the country, noting that this issue goes against another UN value and demands a clear response – how to treat the factors that deny the courts established by the UN and how to treat them in specific cases of denying genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.

“At the same time, the principles of universal jurisdiction are being abused for political purposes, in addition to prescribed procedures and concluded interstate agreements that clearly specify the modalities of prosecution of war crime suspects who must be held accountable, but where the countries whose citizenship the war crimes suspects hold have primary responsibility. If universal jurisdiction is used in a selective and political way, then it deeply undermines the principles of criminal law and legal security, and thus human rights, and undermines trust in judicial mechanisms,” said Komsic.

After a lengthy speech, which also touched upon the issue of the COVID pandemic and the crisis it triggered across the world as well as the issue of climate changes, Bosnia Presidency Chairman concluded:

“With all the differences of political views within Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the international community represented through the Peace Implementation Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which assists the High Representative, I believe that the respect for the human rights value must be the only guide to further political development of my country as a pledge to preserve peace and its future. All its people, regardless of their identity, ethnicity, religious affiliation or their absence, must have the same rights. Otherwise, we will end up with an ‘Orwellian society’ where it is accepted that some are, after all, more important than others, and this always jeopardises the stability of one society and undermines peace and security. From this point, I call on the United Nations institutions to insist on the values ​​of human rights protection in every segment of their activities.”


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