The presidents of all 12 parties of the Croatian National Assembly (HNS) of Bosnia and Herzegovina sent a letter to the public and relevant representatives of the international community today, in which they point out that these days we are witnessing “extremely aggressive and deeply worrying rhetoric of the Bosniak political leadership regarding the announcements of the Office of the High Representative (OHR) on changes to the Constitution of the Federation BiH and the Election Law”.
“We expect that the Decision of the Constitutional Court of BiH U-23/14 will be implemented and thereby stop the gross violation of the basic principles of democracy and the rule of law. The system of parity and division of power between the representatives of the constituent nations and all other citizens in accordance with the Washington Agreement and the Dayton Agreement are the basis of the political stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
We believe that freedom of speech is a fundamental human and democratic right of every individual. However, we are concerned about the alarming amount of extremism and hate speech spread by certain Bosniak political leaders, well-coordinated groups on social networks, but unfortunately also by representatives of certain media. Calls for violent protests and clashes must not be tolerated. We express our concern about possible violent riots, especially knowing about the increasingly frequent attacks on Croatian returnees and their symbols in Central Bosnia and other mixed areas.
Militaristic declarations nullify all previous progress in the promotion of democracy and the building of peace and the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the interest of all its constituent peoples, minorities and all citizens.
We have been dealing with different types of threats and incidents for years. Accordingly, we believe that the time has come to strongly condemn the hate speech experienced by members of the Croatian constituent people and political officials in recent weeks.
Namely, the hate speech and the existing threats are explicit and public and are also directed towards the international community, whose actions are obviously intended to be discouraged with the aim of continuing the political dominance of the representatives of the majority Bosniak constituent people to the detriment of the smaller and minority communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which would ultimately abolished the multi-ethnic diversity of BiH.
We believe that you share with us the vision of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a successful country, a future member of the European Union, a country of equal constituent nations and all citizens, following the example of modern European countries with federal arrangements. As in some European countries, the principles of power sharing and parity are instruments that guarantee unity, cohesion and are prerequisites for unified action in the achievement of common goals and prosperity in the interest of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Unfortunately, such a vision of Bosnia and Herzegovina is clearly under threat. By boycotting changes to electoral legislation and threats to security, today more than ever, the public is openly proving that the future, political and civil rights of Croats, as the smallest constituent nation, are at risk. The same applies to all minority communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which are not allowed to participate equally in political life.
It is particularly worrying that the parties and individuals who self-declaratively protect the so-called civil rights loudest in openly calling for violence and unconstitutional behavior on a daily basis. The impression that is being gained is already proving to be true – their intention is to seize constitutionally guaranteed seats that belong to the Croatian constituent people and others in the House of Peoples of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This model is modeled after the usurpations in the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which threaten us this time as well.
In contrast, we believe that all political systems should take into account the political demands of all peoples and be an expression of general consensus in divided societies such as Bosnia and Herzegovina. Hegemony, hate speech and violence must have no place in daily politics.
In the end, we believe that we can count on cooperation with all key actors of the international community with the aim of reducing tensions, preventing violence, protecting against unconstitutional unitary hegemony and militant nationalism that disturbs the public, deepens inter-ethnic divisions and threatens the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina, concludes HNS’s letter signed by the presidents of all parties that are members of the HNS.