After US President Obama declared this week Human Rights Week, in honor of the 64th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly, which took place December 10, 1948, the US Ambassador to BiH Patrick S. Moon wrote on his blog they look to the Universal Declaration not just as a reminder of values, but as a guide for action.
”In adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United States and governments around the world recognized that human beings are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that these serve as “the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” . We continue the hard work of making human rights a reality for every person in Bosnia and Herzegovina, no matter whom they are or where they live. I would like to mention three communities whose rights are not protected.
According to him, firstly BiH needs to further protect its Roma population and honor its commitments as part of its membership in the EU Roma Decade.
Moon reminded that for two years, BiH authorities have failed to take serious steps toward implementing the strategy and have yet to appoint a State Coordinator for the Roma Decade.
Secondly, if there is one segment of the population that appears to be invisible, it is those citizens with disabilities. There are an estimated 350,000 people living with disabilities in BiH and over eighty percent of them are currently unemployed.
He stressed laws exist that prohibit discrimination based on disabilities, and Bosnia and Herzegovina is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Unfortunatley, these laws are seldom adhered to, and lacking is public awareness of the rights of people with disabilities.
”We in the Embassy are trying to fill in part of the awareness void through a month-long series of programs by the Unites States Agency for International Development (USAID) that celebrates the diversity of all children, including those challenged with disabilities”, wrote Moon.
A third segment, Moon added, of the invisible population is the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) population.
”I have seen great progress in the last year as young BiH citizens have begun organizing and networking in an effort to claim their rights as equal members of society. I am encouraged by the progress made by these brave young people.
United States is proud to support local LGBT groups in their work to promote equality. I met with the staff at the Sarajevo Open Centre last week, and they presented me with a rainbow LGBT Pride flag, which will be proudly displayed in the United States Embassy’s gallery, so that all official visitors may see that the United States supports LGBT rights”, wrote Moon.
Finally, Moon urged all the citizens to do their part to break down the walls of discrimination, in particular, the prejudices endured by the Roma, the disabled, and the LGBT community.
SARAJEVO, December 16 (FENA)