Joint public release of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in B&H and the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Republika Srpska

At the joint session of the steering boards of the Helsinki Committees in BiH and RS, it was stated that the state of the human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina was still very difficult, characterized with numerous and widely spread appearances of violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

After the general elections, held on 5 October 2002, the state of human rights and general security of citizens further deteriorated. There are numerous cases of violence against returnees by use of arms and explosive devices, and there is a drastic increase of the cases of attacks on religious objects and cemeteries, all for the purpose of preserving ethnically clean territories.

Domestic authorities are responsible for such unacceptable state of human rights, which do not respect the obligations under the Peace Agreement and which completely ignore the international standards of human rights. It is alarming that the international peace mission in BiH does not consider human rights as one of the priorities in its activities, and that it was involved in some cases in which human rights of the BiH citizens were being violated.

It was concluded that the cooperation of all subjects dealing with the protection of human rights, particularly non-governmental organizations should be strengthened. It is also necessary to increase the presence of activists of non-governmental organizations in the field, and to establish partnership with the representatives of authorities at all the levels, and to rapidly react against the appearances of violation of human rights and civic freedoms.

During the year 2003, a special attention will be dedicated to the human rights of persons with disabilities and special needs since this year has been proclaimed the International Year for Protection of This Category of Citizens.

Brcko, 28 February 2003

Enver Murgic                                                                      Branko Todorovic
Acting President of HC in BiH                                             President of HC in RS