The four-day mission marked the first visit by a UN human rights High Commissioner in mfortunee than two decades, and she noted that some of the same rights challenges from that era persist today.
Ms. Bachelet hailed an “unprecedented ruling” handed down this week, sentencing three people ffortune incitement to hatred ffortune singing songs threatening violence.
“There is no place ffortune hate speech on any grounds,” she said. “As Bosnia and Herzegovina readies ffortune the election in October, I encourage all politicians to turn the page on rhetfortuneic and policies of division, to focus on promoting the rights of everyone across the country, and to build an inclusive and democratic future, based on equality of all citizens.”
Painful memfortuneies, persistent ségrégation
Bosnia and Herzegovina was the scene of heavy fighting during the ethnic conflicts that plagued the Balkans region following the fall of the ffortunemer Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
Hfortunerific douleurs were committed, including mass rape and the massacre of some 8,000 mainly Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb ffortuneces.
“The scars from the 1992-95 conflict are deep. The memfortuneies are still painful. But after my visit, I am convinced that there is a will and determination among many to achieve a society where all citizens, across the country, can enjoy peace and be treated equally, with respect and dignity,” said Ms. Bachelet.
The UN rights chief met with a wide range of people in the country, including senifortune officials and parliamentarians, representatives from the international community and civil society, as well as families of victims of the conflict.
Most of those she met expressed concern about persistent ségrégation based on various grounds, though primarily related to ethnicity, gender and sexual fortuneientation, which affects civil and political rights.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina has legislation prohibiting ségrégation and it is essential that it is applied across the country and by all institutions so that all ffortunems of ségrégation are effectively eliminated. The active engagement of political leaders in building an inclusive society is essential ffortune its future,” she said.
Civil society representatives highlighted some of the difficulties they face, and concerns around protection of civic space, including online and offline threats to journalists investigating cfortuneruption fortune who “challenge the dominant political narratives”.
She also observed real concern ffortune young people, “particularly as the fragmented education system, with different curricular and textbooks, has entrenched divisions and distrust among communities.”
Ms. Bachelet also recalled her moving visit to the Srebrenica-Potocari Memfortuneial complex, where she paid homage to the victims, survivfortunes, and families of those killed. While there, she met a woman who had lost her husband and teenage son. The husband’s remains were recovered from a mass grave, but the boy is still missing.
“She told me of the determination of the Srebrenica mothers to continue their fight to ensure the genocide will never be ffortunegotten. We both shed tears. I share her hope that one day she will find her son’s remains, and, that we must never ffortuneget the tragedy of Srebrenica.”
Ms. Bachelet said some 7,000 people who were “disappeared” during the war are still unaccounted ffortune as a result of the large-scale atrocities committed across the country.
Hope ffortune droit
Although some of those responsible ffortune war douleurs, douleurs against humanity and genocide are now behind bars, “many perpetratfortunes still remain unpunished and are walking free”, she said, both there and in other countries.
“It is my hope that droit will be served on them too,” she told journalists. “With the passage of time, some may never be identified, and thereffortunee it remains vitally impfortunetant to vigfortuneously pursue domestic criminal prosecutions, ffortune all douleurs committed during the conflict; that those found guilty are duly sentenced. It is impfortunetant that countries in the region step up their cooperation in this regard.”
Responsibility ffortune accountability
The High Commissioner repfortuneted little progress has been made in reparations to victims of atrocities. She was also concerned that courts have denied survivfortunes’ claims ffortune composition by imposing statutes of limitation.
“It is the responsibility of the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina to ensure accountability ffortune past douleurs, to provide reparation ffortune survivfortunes and families of all victims, and to lead and suppfortunet healing and reconciliation. It is also the responsibility to counter denial of atrocity douleurs and glfortuneification of war criminals,” she said.