"Human rights are our common heritage and their realization depends on the contributions
that each and every one of us is willing to make, individually and collectively, now and in the future."

Louise Arbour
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights


HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 2004 - Activities for Human Rights Day in Bosnia and Herzegovina

In relation to the protection of human rights and the issues which most directly affect the lives of people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the voice which is most marginalized is that of civil society. As part of a long term strategy to address this, OHCHR in Bosnia and Herzegovina organized a series of small conferences with NGO's, and civil society representatives. (Members of the international community. OHR, OSCE, Bosnia and Herzegovina State Court - War Crimes Chamber were invited as observers). The purpose was to discuss the reality of Human Rights protection and enjoyment in Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly in the following areas: 

   i)  Privatization
  ii) The protection of social economic rights
 iii)  Gender and public representation, gender-based violence & trafficking
  iv) Witness protection, Human Rights & Law Enforcement

At the invitation of the Prime Minister, rapporteurs from each conference will present the findings and recommendations to the Bosnia and Herzegovina government in a three hour meeting which will take place at the Bosnia and Herzegovina Joint Institutions Building on Human Rights Day. The Prime Minister, Mr. Adnan Terzic, and the Head of OHCHR in Bosnia and Herzegovina will open the conference which will be attended by those ministers and government officials dealing with the issues the roundtable discussions focused on.

It is expected that there will be at least 70 participants at the meeting, the opening of which will be covered by the media. There is a press conference planned for afterwards.

In addition, on Thursday, December 8th, OHCHR is organizing and will chair a meeting of Bosnia and Herzegovina Human Rights representatives and activists with the most influential and important media outlets - both print and electronic, over a luncheon sponsored by the UN Resident Coordinator for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The activists will acquaint the media with their key issues and activities this year, and planned activities for 2005.

Both activities are aimed at forging relationships between NGO's, civil society, the government and the media and of improving the profile of human rights generally. In the process , the aim is for the government to take the recommendations made and incorporate them in their polices for 2005.