An assessment of the work of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) institutions in combating discrimination, prepared by the OSCE Mission to BiH, was presented today in Sarajevo, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination.
The conference gathered more than 100 representatives of the judiciary, legal professionals and representatives of relevant public institutions and civil society organizations from BiH and the region.
“This Report is a part of the OSCE Mission to BiH’s support to the BiH institutions to combat discrimination,” said Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH Bruce G. Berton.
As a result of the adoption of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination and its subsequent amendments, a significant number of discrimination cases have been brought before domestic courts and the Institution of Human Rights Ombudsman of BiH.
“These cases relate to various societal spheres, such as systemic discrimination in education, the workplace, employment opportunities, as well as access to social and health services,” said Berton.
The Report analyses the work of the judiciary, the BiH Ombudsman Institution and the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees, as key institutional actors in combating discrimination in BiH. In addition, the Report assesses the progress that has been achieved in applying anti-discrimination legislation over the past ten years.
“We still witness systemic discrimination, especially against the most vulnerable category of people in our country’s population, the returnees,” said Semiha Borovac, BiH Minister for Human Rights and Refugees.
“The fight against discrimination is a direct way to fight for the survival of returnees in their homes and for a society of equal individuals – of all the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina on every inch of our territory. We are obliged to make that effort by the BiH Constitution and by the Decision on the constituent status of all citizens throughout the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also by our common goal of membership in the European Union, which is based on the principles of equality,” she added.
The Report identifies the shortcomings which BiH has still to address in its anti-discrimination mechanisms, and offers a set of recommendations for each of the key institutional actors for improvement in this important field.
Ljubinko Mitrovic, Ombudsmen for Human Rights of BiH, welcomed the report as well-intentioned input aimed at improving the work of the Ombudsman Institution, to the satisfaction of citizens whose submissions to the Institution continue to increase. “This report represents a compelling overview of the situation in the Ombudsman Institution, and includes a number of constructive suggestions with the aim of improving our operation.”