Bosnia and Herzegovina improves Minority Rights Protection

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Bosnia and Herzegovina takes measures in legislation and practice protecting the rights of the country’s national minorities and promoting the use of the minority languages in line with the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

Upon the initiative of the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the European Union and the Council of Europe supported the authorities in establishing a mechanism to improve the application of the standards defined by these two treaties and the implementation of the Council of Europe’s recommendations, through the joint EU/CoE action “Promotion of diversity and equality in Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

Saliha Đuderija, Assistant Minister for Human Rights and Refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina stated: “The activities implemented in co-operation with the Council of Europe, and the tools developed, represent a practical and tangible contribution that improves the fulfilment of international obligations of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the field of human rights. It is particularly important to mention the establishment of a methodology that fosters the engagement of various institutions in the process of monitoring the record of respect of human rights. Such approach also ensures a better understanding of the standards recommended and advocated for by the Council of Europe, resulting in a better enjoyment of rights by individuals, notably by members of the minority communities. Ultimately, this also helps the country to advance in the EU integration process, by showing an increased understanding and respect of fundamental rights.”

The newly established mechanism allows for the development of criteria and indicators on rights of national minorities. These will serve as a basis for collecting and processing relevant qualitative and quantity data. This is not only necessary for monitoring and improving the implementation of the recommendations related to the Framework Convention and the Language Charter but will also help to better identify forms of disadvantages faced by national minorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. For instance, in relation to equality and non-discrimination, data will help to develop initiatives by different bodies/institutions to combat discrimination based on ethnicity and language. This is an important element to monitor the country performance in treating all its citizens equally and reduce social exclusion.

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