Header image for news printout

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination examines Bosnia and Herzegovina's report

GENEVA (10 August 2018) - The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today concluded its consideration of the combined twelfth and thirteenth periodic report of Bosnia and Herzegovina on its implementation of the provisions of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Presenting the report, Saliha Djuderija, Assistant Minister of Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that with recent legal amendments, Bosnia and Herzegovina had ensured the full independence of the Ombudsman for Human Rights in line with the Paris Principles.  The Gender Equality Agency had been contributing to the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, while the Commission for Human Rights operated within the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina with a mandate to protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all.  Reiterating the commitment to maintaining a multicultural society through the strengthening of dialogue as the primary means of connecting diversities and developing tolerance in society, Ms. Djuderija said that a Platform of Peace had been recently adopted.  The principle of non-discrimination was embedded in the Constitution and entity constitutions, and in the Law on the Prevention of All Forms of Discrimination.  All the Convention’s premises had been incorporated in the criminal legislation which sanctioned crimes against humanity; genocide; war crimes against civilians, wounded and sick, and prisoners of war; and the destruction of cultural, historical and religious monuments.  Special attention was paid to improving the social and economic situation of Roma, including through annual funding allocations to implement the Strategy for the Improvement of the Situation of Roma and the action plan to address the issues of Roma 2017-2020.

In the ensuing discussion, Committee Experts said that systemic inter-ethnic and ethno-religious discrimination was still persistent throughout national institutions, whereas the collective treatment of the “others” had stagnated true progress within the country and had fractured the quality of life of Roma, internally displaced persons, refugees, asylum-seekers, and post-war returnees.  Clearly, a paradigm shift in the attitudes towards the relationship between citizens, ethnic communities and the State was urgently needed.  Experts inquired about the concrete steps to promote reconciliation, break the ethnic lines of division, reduce ethnic tensions, promote integration among different ethnic groups, and above all, promote a teaching of recent history that was not ethnically biased.  Bosnia and Herzegovina should align its criminal legislation with the Convention to enable complaints, investigations and prosecutions of acts of incitement to hatred based on racial discrimination, Experts remarked, and asked about the status of the constitutional changes ordered by the European Court of Human Rights in Sejdic and Finci v. Bosnia and Herzegovina to resolve the hierarchy of ethnic groups that could stand for elections for the presidency.  Concerns were raised about reports of physical attacks against minority returnees and the rising incidences of hate speech in the media and in political discourse, as it fuelled the already entrenched enmity and mistrust between the three main ethnic groups.

Verene Shepherd, Committee Rapporteur for Bosnia and Herzegovina, in her concluding remarks, recognized that the historical evolution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the 1995 challenges had impeded the efforts to become the very best version of itself and eliminate racial discrimination, particularly as not everyone in the Federation, Republika Srpska and the Brèko District shared the same vision.

Ms. Djuderija reaffirmed that Bosnia and Herzegovina was working on improving the challenging socio-economic situation and reiterated the conviction that the United Nations standards were not just a dead letter, but something that Bosnia and Herzegovina wanted to see brought to life, with the support of many international partners and stakeholders.  

Noureddine Amir, Committee Chairperson, said that the delegation’s answers would enable the Committee to review the situation in the country and help it craft the concluding observations which would assist Bosnia and Herzegovina to make further progress.

The delegation of Bosnia and Herzegovina included representatives of the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Civil Affairs, Ministry of Security, and the Permanent Mission of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations at Geneva.

The Committee will next meet today at 3 p.m. to consider the combined fourteenth to seventeenth periodic report of China (CERD/C/CHN/14-17).

Report

The Committee has before it the combined twelfth and thirteenth periodic report of Bosnia and Herzegovina: CERD/C/BIH/12-13.

Presentation of the Report

SALIHA DJUDERIJA, Assistant Minister for Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, informed the Committee about the most important activities taken by the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina to implement the Convention.  The Government had endeavoured to improve the existing laws and to ensure the full independence of the Ombudsman for Human Rights by adopting amendments to the Ombudsman Law in line with the Paris Principles.  The Gender Equality Agency had been contributing to the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, in particular in employment, and participation in political and public life, and in decision-making.  The Commission for Human Rights operated within the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a mandate to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Constitution and Bosnian legislation.  Pursuant to article 4 and 5 of the national Constitution, the authorities had been making continuous efforts to resolve minority rights, in line with the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (Sejdic and Finci v. Bosnia and Herzegovina), in order to grant equal rights to both minorities and constituent peoples (Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs).  Amendments to the Anti-Discrimination Law of 2016 protected citizens from discrimination in all areas of work and life, including in employment, social care and healthcare, justice and administration, housing, public information, education, sport, culture, science, and industry.  The Government condemned any form of propaganda inciting intolerance and racial discrimination, and it sanctioned as a criminal offence any incitement to national or religious hatred.  It was also strongly committed to the fight against terrorism, which was criminalized in national legislation.  

Turning to support for ethnic groups and minorities, Ms. Djuderija noted that special attention was paid to Roma, taking into account their current social and economic situation.  Funds were provided annually to support lower levels of Government in the implementation of the Strategy for the Improvement of the Situation of Roma.  The Government’s action plan to address the issues of Roma 2017-2020 focused on housing, employment and healthcare.  As for intolerance and attitudes towards refugees and returnees, Ms. Djuderija said that there were many difficulties in achieving sustainable return, although almost 100 per cent of property had been returned.  In addition to refugees returning to their homes, they needed basic conditions to resume normal life style, such as employment, school infrastructure, clinics, roads, and access to electricity.  Together with the Communications Regulatory Agency, the Government was making continuous efforts to fight against incitement to violence through the abuse of the press, audio-visual, and electronic media.  It aimed to ensure the freedom of the press, speech and expression, and to legally sanction any incitement to hatred and violence.  

Bosnia and Herzegovina was committed to maintaining a multicultural society through the strengthening of dialogue as the primary means of connecting diversities and development of tolerance in society through the recently adopted Platform of Peace.  The principle of non-discrimination was embedded in the Constitution and entity constitutions, as well as in the Law on the Prevention of All Forms of Discrimination in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The country had incorporated all premises and postulated from the Convention into its criminal legislation, prescribing criminal penalties for crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes against civilians, war crimes against the wounded and sick, war crimes against prisoners of war, and the destruction of cultural, historical and religious monuments.      

Questions by the Country Rapporteur
 
VERENE SHEPHERD, Committee Member and Country Rapporteur for Bosnia and Herzegovina, observed that the Committee would welcome an update core document by the State party.  She regretted that no non-governmental organization had contributed to the State party’s report, and that none were present in Geneva to interact with the Committee.  She also noted the absence of the Ombudsman.  

Ms. Shepherd said that systemic inter-ethnic and ethno-religious discrimination was still persistent throughout national institutions, whereas the collective treatment of the “others” had stagnated true progress within the country and had fractured the quality of life of Roma, internally displaced persons, refugees, asylum-seekers, and post-war returnees.  Even the lives of the three constituent peoples – Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks – were affected because they could still be a minority depending on where they settled.  Clearly, a paradigm shift in the attitudes towards the relationship between citizens, ethnic communities and the State was urgently needed.  

Could the State party provide information on concrete steps taken to promote reconciliation, to break the ethnic lines of division, to reduce ethnic tensions, and to promote integration among different ethnic groups?  The State party should also inform the Committee on steps taken to promote a teaching of recent history that was not ethnically biased.

Ms. Shepherd asked for statistical data on the ethnic composition of the population, including on the number of the Roma population, migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, as well as for socio-economic data.  She further inquired about programmes to inform women, the elderly and ethnic minorities on the importance of their participation in elections.

Turning to threats against journalists, Ms. Shepherd asked about the impact of the relevant national action plan.  What impact had it had on incidences of hate speech?  The Committee asked the State party to align article 145a of the Criminal Code fully with the Convention in order to enable complaints, investigations and prosecutions of acts of incitement to hatred on the basis of all grounds of racial discrimination.  In the same vein, it was unclear whether the Criminal Code explicitly complied with article 4 of the Convention on racist activities, public dissemination of racist propaganda, and participation in activities that promoted ideas of racial superiority and racism.  As for a racist motive as an aggravating circumstance, the Committee was not clear whether it explicitly existed in the Criminal Code.  

What were the efforts to change the Electoral Law and to resolve the hierarchy of ethnic groups that could stand for elections for the presidency?  The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in Sejdic and Finci v. Bosnia and Herzegovina had ordered necessary constitutional changes.  

Ms. Shepherd reminded that the Committee had previously raised concerns about reports of physical attacks against minority returnees, and about rising incidences of hate speech in the media and in political discourse.  That issue was of special concern because the use of hate rhetoric further deepened the already entrenched enmity and mistrust between the three main ethnic groups (Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs).  Hate speech was also present in sports.  Was statistical data available on cases of racist hate speech?  What measures had been taken to counter hate speech, and what were the outcomes of awareness raising campaigns conducted against hate speech?  Were there any statistics on the successful prosecution of such cases?  

As for citizenship and potential statelessness, Ms. Shepherd observed vague grounds for denying citizenship, and different requirements for naturalization of refugees and stateless persons.  

Ms. Shepherd applauded the State party’s efforts to address the socio-economic situation of the Roma.  Was the allocation of funds done in consultation with the Roma in order to better match their needs?  Roma remained the most marginalized and discriminated against population in the country in education, employment, healthcare and housing.  

On returnees, the Country Rapporteur commended the efforts to facilitate the reintegration of returnees through the implementation of several housing programmes.  What were the challenges to complete the proposed number of housing units?  Ms. Shepherd observed that the lack of statistical data on returnees did not allow the State party to identify the most vulnerable groups and their needs.  The lack of data allowed for unchecked discrimination to continue.  

The Country Rapporteur further inquired about the access to asylum procedure.  She reminded that the requirement to register one’s address before the formal submission of an asylum application prevented many asylum seekers from being registered.  Asylum seekers were not entitled to family reunification or permanent residence.    

Ms. Shepherd expressed concern that mono-ethnic schooling in the education system had been maintained in the two entities (Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Republika Srpska) for a long time, and that there seemed to be a lack of political will to create policies that specifically tackled the “two schools under one roof” practice, and enforced integration.  The Committee had previously recommended that the State party ensure that there was no segregation in schools and that students were taught together on the basis of the same curriculum.    

The Country Rapporteur pointed out to the lack of independence of the Office of the Ombudsman resulting from Parliament’s power to appoint and dismiss the Ombudsman, and the insufficient funds following significant budget cuts, as well as the low number of staff supporting the work of the Ombudsman.  What improvements had the State party implemented for maintaining status A for the institution?  

Finally, Ms. Shepherd concluded that deeply ingrained ethnic divisions and lack of a common vision of reconciliation and development still hampered the construction of a tolerant and cohesive society in Bosnia and Herzegovina almost 30 years after the war.  

Questions by Other Experts

GUN KUT, Committee Member and Rapporteur for Follow-up to Concluding Observations, informed that the Committee had issued its previous concluding recommendations on Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2015, but that the State party had never submitted its follow-up report.  One of the themes selected for the follow-up report referred to the human, technical and financial resources for the Office of the Ombudsman.  The second theme was about training for the judiciary and law enforcement officials, whereas the third one concerned hate crimes against minority returnees.  The State party needed to provide more specific answers to those questions.  

An Expert inquired about the legal framework for the prosecution of the war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia.  War crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide were committed as a consequence of racial discrimination in the worst form, the Expert reminded.  How did the State party respond to referrals from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia?  Was there any cross-entity mechanism and were those crimes treated the same way as crimes under domestic laws?  Achieving justice for all was very difficult and some judgments of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia were accepted in some regions, but rejected in others, the Expert observed.

How had the political arrangement of rotational presidency set by the Dayton Accord of 1995 worked in practice?  How was the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in Sejdic and Finci v. Bosnia and Herzegovina being implemented?  Minorities had political representation at the local level, but could not be elected to higher posts, such as the office of the President, which were reserved for Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs.    

One Expert welcomed the introduction of anti-discrimination clauses in the Labour Law.  How was new labour legislation linked with the Anti-Discrimination Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina?  

Moving on to the discrimination against Roma, Experts asked about the status and implementation of current action plans for equal opportunities of Roma in employment and vocational training.  How was information about cases of discrimination gathered?  

What was the maximum penalty for racial discrimination?  What was the prison population in the country?  There was still fear among the population to report cases of discrimination due to the mistrust in institutions, an Expert observed.  

Trafficking in persons, according to the Criminal Code, was a criminal offence.  What was the number of investigations, prosecutions and sanctions in cases of trafficking?  

Was there such a thing as Bosnian nationality/citizenship?  Was there a difference between Bosnian citizenship and the citizenship of Republika Srpska?  The European Union had very high standards for human rights and combatting racism and racial discrimination, and questions of unity had some implications for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s negotiations to enter the European Union.  

Was training of judges, prosecutors and lawyers on anti-discrimination available through distance learning?  What were the conclusions of Parliament on regular reports on racism?  

What was the breakdown of the refugee population in the country?  Who were refugees and who were returnees?  

How many educational systems did the country have, considering that there were 10 cantons (Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina), one district (Brcko) and Republika Srpska?  Did they share the same education system?  Why were there “two schools under one roof” when the languages of instruction were the same?

Why was birth registration for Roma children so lengthy?  It challenged them in accessing many important rights, such as education and healthcare.  What was the implementation of the housing project for the Roma people?  

Replies by the Delegation
 
The delegation explained that Bosnia and Herzegovina consisted of two entities (Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Republika Srpska) and the Brcko District.  The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina consisted of 10 cantons.  Members of the rotating presidency were representatives of the three constituent peoples (Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs) and all its decisions were made consensually.  The Parliament consisted of two houses: the House of Representatives (42 delegates elected through proportional representation, two-thirds from the Federation and one-third from Republika Srpska); and the House of Peoples (15 delegates chosen by parliaments of the entities).    

SALIHA DJUDERIJA, Assistant Minister for Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, noted that the resolution of ethnic divisions, reconciliation and democratization had been problematic in recent years.  However, the authorities were trying to find solutions at the national level and through cooperation with the international community (i.e. through the High Representative selected by the European Union).  National laws took into account the very high standards of the United Nations and European Union conventions.  The European Convention on Human Rights had precedence in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Ms. Djuderija noted that the adoption of the Law on the Prevention of All Forms of Discrimination in Bosnia and Herzegovina was a major step for the country.  Challenges included the fact that the Government of Republika Srpska did not agree on how to implement that law.  

Amendments to the Law on the Ombudsman had been adopted by the Council of Ministers, and it now needed to be adopted by Parliament.  An area which needed improvement concerned monitoring of cases of torture and ill-treatment, Ms. Djuderija explained.  Reports on discrimination used be gathered in cooperation with cantonal authorities, but that method proved to be too lengthy.  

Ms. Djuderija said that with the recent adoption of the law against discrimination, Bosnia and Herzegovina had harmonized its legislation with the Convention, and added that most of the laws passed in the country incorporated anti-discrimination provisions, thus providing protection in different sectors of life.  A complaint filing mechanism had been put in place through which complaints could be submitted to specific institutions.  Another mechanism for protection against discrimination - including racial discrimination - was the annual Parliamentary reports on all discrimination cases, which were submitted to different ministries and to the Office of the Ombudsmen.  The Constitutional Court also dealt with discrimination cases.  In 2017, for example, almost 450 discrimination complaints involved cases of mobbing, and discrimination based on ethnic, minority, religion, and sexual and gender affiliation.  Issues of discrimination were also being addressed through the European accession process, while the national human rights plan also addressed discrimination.

Another member of the delegation addressed questions concerning the Roma minority and said that laws and policies to improve the situation of national minorities, especially Roma, had been adopted, including the 2004 strategy, the 2003 law on national minorities, and several action plans to implement the Roma Decade.  Further efforts were being invested in improving Roma access to education on various levels, including though 35 local action plans in communities where most Roma lived.  One challenge was establishing the number of Roma in the country: as per the 2013 census, there were about 12,000 Roma; the registry of Roma claimed there were 17,500; while non-governmental organizations claimed there were 80,000, a figure that the Government disputed.  Progress was being made in the employment of Roma in the public administration throughout the country.  Bosnia and Herzegovina was committed to improving the situation of Roma, in particular three strategic objectives of strengthening of institutional capacities, improvement of employment and self-employment, and improvement of housing and health care.  There were 12 systems of education in the country: 10 cantonal, Republika Srpska and the Brèko District.  The education system did not discriminate against Roma children, but it was a matter of fact that due to their overall socio-economic situation, they experienced challenges in accessing education.  To overcome those challenges, cantonal authorities allocated resources to support Roma education, particularly at the primary level.

Under the Constitution, there was only citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the delegation confirmed.  The two entities regulated their own citizenship under the condition that individuals had the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina - there was no separate entity citizenship without the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole.  Residents of the Brèko District could choose their entity citizenship.  All citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, regardless of their entity citizenship, enjoyed equal rights and freedoms throughout the country, and all carried a Bosnia and Herzegovina passport.  The State law amending the citizenship law had aligned the legislation with the Convention on the Prevention of Statelessness and the 1951 Refugee Convention; Republika Srpska had immediately aligned its entity law, while in the Federation the harmonization with the State law had been completed only in 2016.  The citizens had a right to renounce their citizenship, which was usually done by those who had a citizenship of a country which did not allow dual or multiple citizenships.  To prevent statelessness, each individual renouncing citizenship had to prove that he or she possessed the citizenship of another country.

On the issue of return of refugees and internally displaced persons, the delegation said that creating high-quality conditions for the return of the 2.4 million people displaced by the unfortunate war, was a very challenging task.  The return strategy had been adopted to fully implement Annex VII of the Dayton Peace Agreement, with four key goals: complete the return process, restate the pre-war property, reconstruct destroyed homes, and create conditions for sustainable return and reintegration.  So far, only 1.61 million people had returned; of those 42 per cent were refugees and 58 per cent were internally displaced persons.  The delegation added that 121 collective accommodation centres would be closed and over 2,000 homes would be built to provide housing for the displaced persons.

Responding to questions raised about migrants and aliens, the delegation said that over 10,000 individuals from over 10 States had entered the country illegally, mostly with the opening of the Balkan migratory routes in 2015 and 2016.  Most did not carry any documents which could prove their identity or origin; most were in transit to Western Europe as only just over 700 had applied for asylum in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The Law on Asylum and the Law on Foreigners had been aligned with international conventions and the European Union Acquis Communitaire, while the principle of non-refoulement was being strictly observed.

The prosecution of war crimes was a very complex issue, a delegate said, noting that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia had now ceased its work and that the national courts in their prosecution of war crimes had been cooperating with the Tribunal.  Crimes under international humanitarian law were defined in the Criminal Code and their prosecution was under the jurisdiction of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  In order to expedite the prosecution of war crimes, amendments to the Criminal Code had transferred the prosecution of less complex war crimes to entity courts.  The National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes had not unfortunately met its ambitious deadlines.  The revised strategy, which set the new deadline for the prosecution of all war crimes by 2020, had been designed by a working group comprised of judges, prosecutors and experts; it had been submitted to the Council of Ministers for approval.  During the 2012 to 2016 period, 730 persons had been indicted for war crimes in 409 cases; 236 sentences had been rendered involving 316 persons, 151 convictions against 61 persons had been issued and there had been 60 acquittals for 181 persons.  The definition of rape in the Criminal Code had been amended to remove the element of force and lack of consent, which would facilitate the prosecution.

Hate speech was a crime in all four criminal codes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the State, the two entities and the Brèko District, and hatred was an aggravated circumstance in any criminal offence.  The definition of hate crime had been harmonized across all the laws, but the prohibited grounds for discrimination had not yet been defined in line with international provisions.  This was now a subject of a draft amendment to the Criminal Code which had been submitted to the Council of Ministers which, after the adoption, would send it to the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The Regulatory Communication Agency, in cooperation with the Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina Journalists and the Press Council, were working on addressing hate speech in the media.  As 2018 was an election year, a campaign against hate speech in the electoral process had been put in place.

Questions by Committee Experts

In the next round of questions, the Committee Experts asked about the situation of children born during the brutal war, particularly Roma children, and asked how the education system was addressing entrenched stereotypes against Roma.  Would Bosnia and Herzegovina ratify the International Labour Organization’s domestic workers convention?

On the prosecution of war crimes, the delegation was asked how the jurisdiction of entity courts was decided, based on where the crime had been committed, based on the nationality of the perpetrators, or based on the nationality of the majority of victims.  Where the crime was tried had an impact on people’s perception of justice and on relationships between groups, explained the Expert.

Another Expert, who had also worked and lived in Bosnia and Herzegovina, expressed concern about the continued societal divisions, often fuelled by political parties, which affected everyday lives.  There should be more effort to develop and nurture the common national identity of Bosnians and Herzegovinians, starting perhaps with ethnically integrated schools.  For the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina, it was imperative to keep the young in the country, and for this, creating spaces for civil dialogue in which most burning issues could be freely discussed.

Replies by the Delegation

SALIHA DJUDERIJA, Assistant Minister for Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that achieving peace was difficult.  The administration was aware of the challenges and the persistence of those who opposed it, and hoped that Bosnia and Herzegovina would overcome its ethnic and nationalist divisions, and change the situation in the country.  As for the access of Roma to education, the head of the delegation said that there was no discrimination against them by the education system itself, but the obstacle was on the part of parents who were reluctant to enrol the children, partly due to lack of means and partly because of concern that they would be marginalized.  That was in fact the focus of the municipal action in favour of Roma - addressing the obstacles to school enrolment, ensuring birth registration, and providing identity documents.  There were some initiatives to ratify the International Labour Organization’s domestic workers convention, and to cancel the ratification of the Night Work Convention considering that women in Bosnia and Herzegovina did not want a prohibition of their night-time work.  The efforts on developing a national anti-racism action plan were ongoing.
 
Explaining the war crimes prosecution, a delegate said that the 2008 Strategy for the War Crime Prosecution had harmonized criteria to assess the complexity of cases and decide which court would try the case.  More complex cases were tried in the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, while others were transferred to the entities where the crime had been committed.

Bosnia and Herzegovina had registered its objections to the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Sejdic and Finci v. Bosnia and Herzegovina, the delegate continued, explaining that the discriminatory provisions of the Constitution had not yet been removed.  However, Bosnia and Herzegovina continued to make efforts to implement this decision, for which the Ministry of Justice had developed an implementation plan in November 2016 and had submitted it to the Council of Ministers for approval.

Concluding Remarks

VERENE SHEPHERD, Committee Member and Country Rapporteur for Bosnia and Herzegovina, recognized that the historical evolution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the 1995 challenges had impeded the efforts to become the very best version of itself and eliminate racial discrimination, particularly as not everyone in the Federation, Republika Srpska and the Brèko District shared the same vision.  The Rapporteur urged the delegation to provide further answers on racism in sports, the plans to intensify public and media education about hate speech in the run up to the October 2018 elections, the reconciling history education in school curricula, how the recommendations made by the Ombudsperson were implemented, and the efforts to modify the Electoral Law which currently prevented anyone but constituent people to run for the presidency.

SALIHA DJUDERIJA, Assistant Minister for Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, reaffirmed that Bosnia and Herzegovina was working on improving the challenging socio-economic situation and reiterated the conviction that the United Nations standards were not just a dead letter, but something that Bosnia and Herzegovina wanted to see brought to life, with the support of many international partners and stakeholders.  Bosnia and Herzegovina had achieved certain progress and had opened some very difficult chapters that needed a solution.

NOUREDDINE AMIR, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and their answers which would enable the Committee to review the situation in the country.  It would also help it craft the concluding observations which would assist the country to make further progress.

 __________

For use of the information media; not an official record