HCHR presented three reports on human rights
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in B&H – HCHR held a conference last week for beneficiaries of the project ''Civil Society and Local Community'' and BH media. HCHR presented three reports regarding their project and organizational activities, and announced their future activities in the field of human rights.
Friday, 19 February 2010, by HRH Sarajevo / Lejla Mazlic
Speakers on the conference were Slavisa Sucur (Parliament of B&H), Diana Sehic (Prava za sve – Rights for All) and Srdjan Dizdarevic (HCHR), they have talked about the importance od self-governance, active civil society and authorties' responsibilities to respect human rights of its citizens.
Fifteen years of HCHR
Last week's conference was organized also in ocassion of the fitfteen years of the HCHR. Subject of HCHR's action in these past years were various human and individual rights. HCHR has protected citizens from physical violence through the protection of property rights to the protection of their social and economic rights. However, all this time the occurrence of violations were happening under ruling political circles which were not willing to show understanding of human rights concept, and accept that all human beings are equal in rights and dignity, as it stands in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the fundamental document in this field. Instead, the privilege is given to the rights of ethnos, nation, and religious community, at the expense of the individual and universal rights. State of Bosnia and Herzegovina thus, did not acquire the attributes of the rule of law, and being the rule of law absent, the priorities of political elites differ significantly from the focus of the rights of the individual.
Efforts by the Helsinki Committee with this, were and must be directed in several directions: the provision of free legal aid to specific persons whose rights were violated, education about what are human rights and how to protect them, launching initiatives and submitting bills to improve legislation and be more effective in battle for human rights.
„We tried that, through regular reporting and the systematic response to the occurrence of violations of human rights, contribute to removing the effects and consequences of an attack on individual rights. The basic guideline was relying onto the universal human rights. We stood in defense of all that was targeted by authorities, regardless of whom was it about or who was a specific human rights violator. National, political, gender impartiality have made the citizens' confidence in HCHR bigger and stronger, regardless of what part of country they're addressing from, thus regardles sof their origin and affiliation“, stated Srdjan Dizdarevic, now former president of the HCHR who was on that position as of the establishment of the HCHR and adds that it is important also to say that, in the absence of appropriate government's action and then in the absence of appropriate specialized institutions for the protection of human rights, the burden of protecting an individual often was on shoulders of the non-governmental organizations, including the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, in this case..
Three reports presented
In addition to the usual activities, last year HCHR work was particularly concerned with human rights situation in the environment, a topic that will surely become more and more actual in the coming years. Other focus were trainings of local communities for dealing with the protection of human rights. Municipality is a place where citizens articulate their needs and requests, therefore human rights perspective is inseparable from the local community, as an area where citizen can, should and must voice their wantings. HCHR also visited all prisons in B&H in order to asses the situation in prisons, ensuring that the torture is prohibited and international standards established. In the framework of cooperation with sister organizations, HCHR has advocated for the practice to which all citizens should have health care.
- Report on the activities of HCHR in 2009
In 2009, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina continued to work on monitoring of the human rights and freedoms, their promotion and protection according to international standards. Public releases, reports, and information directed to the relevant national and foreign institutions aimed to express widespread occurrence of discrimination in BH society, which results in a number of rough violations of human rights and freedoms of their citizens.
HCHR representatives, participating in public debates in open radio and television shows dedicated to human rights, were reacting and warning the public of this phenomenon. They have also made pressure on the authorities to change their practices and policies regarding the conductiong of human rights of citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the end of November 2009, has sent a report to the the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) on measures taken to combat racism, intolerance and the emergence of ethnic and religious discrimination and segregation in B&H. The Report of the Helsinki Committee in particular referred to the international legal instruments in respect of which the B&H has committed itself, it referred to the constitutional and legal regulations, as well as institutions and specialized bodies that should deal with the struggle against racism, racial discrimination, including discrimination based on national, ethnic and religious affiliation.
- Report of the Free Legal Service of HCHR for 2009
Free Legal Services of the Helsinki Committee in year 2009 continued its work on the provision of free legal assistance to citizens of BiH. In the reporting period, the Service has worked on a total of 4719 cases. One of the common and everyday activities was consistently the insistence of the courts and state administrative bodies to work more efficiently and end shameful long procedures in the cases of human rights violations.
Number of cases concluded in 2009 is 588, which represents around 600 destines of BH citizens and their families who showed their confidence and trust to the free legal service of the HCHR.
HCHR legal team has also sent a great number of opinions and recommendations, urging the relevant authorities and institutions to apply the laws which were passed, all in order to reduce the number of violations of human rights of citizens and achieve more functional state when it's up to legal acting.
- Implementation of the European Charter on Local Self Governance in B&H
HCHR had made several recommendations to the local governance regarding their resposnibilities, fundings, participation of the citizens in decision-making, and strengthening of the role and work of local communities.
Regarding the responsibilities, HCHR reminded the authorities on their obligation to finish the process of transferring authority in accordance with the Law on Local Self-Government in the Republika Srpska and the Law on the principles of local self-government in Federation of B&H. To achieve the level of participation of local authorities in public consumption it is needful to implement the principle of solidarity and fiscal equalization. And in order to give the opportunity to the citizens of B&H to participate in the decision.making processes the State is to ratify and implement the Additional Protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-Government from year 2009. Ands achive the match of the municipal statutes with provisions of the Act relating to the participation of citizens in decision-making. Strenghtening of the role and work of local communities can be achieved through consulting local communities in the legislative process and defining and formalizing the process of consultations ( by implementing the Code of the relations between levels of government in B&H).
Following HCHR activities
This year HCHR plans to monitor the execution of the obligations of B&H in the field of the application of the Convention of the United Nations. In an effort to contribute to the strengthening the rule of law, HCHR will monitor the work of the courts at all levels. With regard to the maintenance of general elections in October, HCHR particularly intends to follow a campaign of political parties as well as the work of media during the campaign, all with intention to contribute to the fair and democratic elections. HCHR will also, continue to implement projects in the field of environment, human rights and local authorities, including initiating the project aiming to achieve health care for all citizens in B&H.
HRH Sarajevo / Lejla Mazlic
Report on the HCHR's activities in 2009 (in Bosnian).
Report of the Free Legal Service of the HCHR for year 2009 (in Bosnian).
Recommendations regarding the cooperation of the civil society and local community (in Bosnian).
Conference "Civil Society and Local Community", Sarajevo, February 2010