Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina Ingrid Macdonald said that a recent public survey conducted by the United Nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina indicates that citizens across the country, in both Entities and Brčko District, irrespective of ethnic identity, feel that their individual rights are not safeguarded and that institutions should be doing more to protect them.
“In areas such as health care, education, employment and environment protection, citizens want to see authorities prioritizing their wellbeing and prosperity,” said Macdonald on the occasion of the Human Rights Day.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is inscribed in the preamble of the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“As new authorities across Bosnia and Herzegovina begin their mandates, there is a great opportunity for authorities to uphold their responsibilities through a renewed social contract with citizens, anchored in human rights,” she said.
She believes that this is essential to rebuild trust in institutions and hope for a better future; with legislative, economic and social reforms that focus on upholding and improving the rights everyone who lives in this beautiful country, without discrimination; and with inclusive, participatory processes that enable citizens to take part in public affairs.
“A renewed social contract will also help Bosnia and Herzegovina deal with its painful past to build a better common future. As the High Commissioner said today, “even where the challenges seem intractable, if the leaders in politics and society would only centre their responses on human rights, the solutions will be always within sight,” Macdonald said.
She stressed that in doing so, it is critical to listen to the voice of citizens and leave no one behind.
UN Resident Coordinator in BiH stated that civil society in Bosnia and Herzegovina has played an extraordinary role – survivors of atrocity crimes and violations, including conflict-related sexual violence, who have been at the forefront of the quest for justice and truth; journalists reporting on corruption; young peacebuilders combating hate speech; environmental activists engaged in protecting the natural wealth of the country; citizens calling for a more inclusive society; and so many others who have made a positive difference.
“Throughout 2023, as we move towards the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations across the world, including in Bosnia and Herzegovina, will engage in reviving the spirit and letter of this foundational text. We look forward to working across the country to keep alive the legacy and pertinence of the Declaration, together with the authorities, institutions and people of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Macdonald.