Civil Society Condemns the Agreement on Constitutional Changes16. July 2012 - 11:49 — Dejan Georgievski
Civil society organizations from Bosnia and Herzegovina condemned, in an open letter published last Friday, July 13, 2012, condemned the new agreement on constitutional changes which, in their view, promotes and stimulates discrimination in the country. (Below is the full text of the reaction).
The agreement on the changes to the Constitution, announced by the representatives of the two parties that share the name HDZ (they say they have secured SDPs support for the agreement) is a step backwards in terms of implementation of standards listed in the European Convention of Human Rights.
According to the statements given by officials of both HDZ parties, the three constitutional nations will become electoral districts, based on the results of the coming population census. In practical terms, it means that the hundred thousand or so voters from ZHK and HNK cantons (West Herzegovina and Herzegovina-Neretva) would be able to elect sufficient number of Croatian MPs in the House of Nations of the BiH Federation to block all decisions, in the same way used today by the MPs of the Republic of Srpska who abuse the instrument of entity voting.
It would practically mean a total elimination of the civil identity in BiH, due to the fact that the vote in Sarajevo, Tuzla, Zenica, Travnik and Bihać would be worth several times less than the vote cast in, say, Široki Brijeg. In terms of civil rights, this solution would be a major step back, much greater than the introduction of the third entity, openly promoted by the two HDZs. In addition to regional discrimination, such a solution further increases the discrimination of BiH citizens that don’t belong to any of the three constitutional nations, or simply don’t want to have their political and civil rights conditioned by ethnic affiliation.
In view of the fact that the representatives of the civil society, including the media, were not involved or informed about this, medieval by nature, agreement, we demand that all talks about deletion of discrimination from legislative norms in BiH are transparent, in the presence of representatives of the Council of Europe, the Venice Commission and civil society in BiH.
If the two HDZs and SDP turn a deaf ear to our demands, it could lead to a civil society campaign to boycott the census that could lead to deepened discrimination and total destruction of possibility to secure equal treatment to civil and ethnic identity in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We believe that Bosnia and Herzegovina is much more than an outright composite of three ethnic tribes – a view supported and confirmed by the ruling in the Sejdić-Finci case – and we are prepared to engage in open confrontation with the representatives of ethnic political parties that want to see BiH break up along ethnic lines.
Following organisations and individuals have signed the statement:
Oštra nula (Banja Luka)
Foundation for Creative Development (Sarajevo)
OKC Abrašević (Mostar)
Human Rights Centre (Sarajevo)
UG Zašto ne (Sarajevo)
Ekipa Foundation (Sarajevo)
Culture and Arts Association "Red" (Sarajevo)
UNSA Geto (Banja Luka)
Antifascist Action BiH
Legal Institute in BiH (Sarajevo)
Kali Sara – Roma Information Centre (Sarajevo)
Sarajevo Open Centre
Public Law Centre Foundation (Sarajevo)
Civil Action/Akcija građana (Sarajevo)
For more information, contact:
UG Zašto ne
+387 33 618 461
+387 61 188 428
Kali Sara – Romski informativni centar
+387 61 349 399
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