It seems that culture and education are hostages of political debate. This has an immensely damaging impact on the artistic, cultural and academic life in this country, as well as the right of people to enjoy their cultural rights and cultural inheritance without discrimination, assessed yesterday in Sarajevo the Special Rapporteur of the UN in the field of cultural rights Farida Shaheed.
Shaheed was in BiH from 13-24 May to assess the provision of law in the field of culture, access to cultural heritage and the ability to participate in the cultural life for all citizens.
Presenting the report that she wrote at the end of her visit, Shaheed said at a conference held for the media that the claim of the hostage of poltical debate is the best example of seven institutions of culture of national importance, including the BiH National Museum that closed its doors last year for visitors.
She requests governments at all levels in BiH to maximize the ability for citizens to participate in culture, sport, science and art, as well as access to neutral venues in which there will be no interference from politics and ethnicity, or national affiliation.
“I am worried about the extent to which political parties expanded the influence on cultural institutions, whose independence has to be guaranteed in law and in practice’’, she said.
She also thinks that there is an alarming trend of cultural and language differences in order to justify the practice of segregation of people on the basis of their ethnic or national affiliation, especially in the domain of education.
Shaheed thinks that it is possible to achieve a joint future for all constituent peoples and national minorities, and at the same time solve the issues that plague those who fear that they will be subject to assimilation policies.
“A dynamic, pluralistic and inclusive culture is key for reconciliation and definitely represents the way forward in the sense of the peace and economic prosperity of BIH’’, said the UN Special Rapporteur, and said that 20 years after the war in BiH divisions are retained that are far greater than at the political level, rather than on the ground.
During her 12-day stay in BiH, she met with the highest officials from all levels of BIH government, a number of figures at the cultural field and academic officials, and artists and representatives of civil society. She visited Mostar, Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Srebrenica and Brčko.
She also visited a number of monuments, museums and memorials in BiH.
Farida Shaheed will present her comprehensive report at the next session of the Human Rights Council of the UN.