Implementation of Court Judgment in Sejdić and Finci Case is Cause of Concern20. July 2012 - 14:11 — Dejan Georgievski
A round-table discussion on the implementation of the judgment in the Sejdić and Finci Case, which NGOs that initiated the discussion find harmful and discriminatory, was held yesterday, July 19, 2012, in Sarajevo.
Representatives of political parties that took part in the creation of the proposal for constitutional changes that the NGOs find harmful and further deteriorates human rights situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina were invited to take part in the discussion. Political parties are also accused to opaque operations and being closed to the NGO sector in the preparation of such important documents.
The NVOs expressed their full support for Dervo Sejdić in his intent, should the proposed constitutional changes are adopted, to immediately sue the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina for violation of his fundamental civil rights.
The NGOs that back this initiative presented a number of problems to SBB and SDP parties’ that took part in the discussion, unlike HDZ and HDZ 1990 parties.
They say that the citizens of BiH and the “Others” (citizens not belonging to one of the three “constitutional nations”) remain discriminated in the elections for members of BiH Presidency, having in mind that the latest proposal has the members of the Presidency elected and appointed by the parliamentary clubs of the three constitutional nations in the House of Nations of the BiH Parliamentary Assembly.
“The Presidency should also represent the “Others”, which won’t be possible by virtue of the fact that the proposed constitutional changes keep the number of members of the Presidency at three”, the NGOs say in a public statement.
The NGOs say that the participation of “Others” in the House of National remains minimal, both in terms of elected MPs, their limited power to propose bills and participate in decision making processes, result of the fact that they don’t have their own parliamentary club, they don’t have the right to use the instrument of protection of vital national interests, or minimal census for the Parliamentary quorum for the House to be able to vote.
“This proposal weakens the democracy and undermines the legitimacy of the members of the Presidency through the abolition of their direct election to office”, the NGOs say, adding that the solution to have the members of the Presidency elected from the ranks of MPs in the House of Nations means that citizens would, first, have to elect them by proxy, and second, that the two offices, of an MP in the House of Nations and member of the Presidency are not compatible and can’t be filled by one person at the same time.
The civil society organizations add that the proposed changes will introduced the need to make the declaration of ethnic affiliation in the coming Census, which provides the basis for the election of MPs in the House of Nations, mandatory, contrary to the existing census form.
“It is also in collision with international with international recommendations and human rights conventions, and the proposal can’t base its legitimacy on non-mandatory census question”, the CSOs say.
They note that it means that the “value” of a vote would be calculated on bases of size of the given constitutional nations in individual cantons (based on the last population census and data on ethnic background which will be collected in the 2013 Census).
“It legitimizes the results of ethnic cleansing, in violation of the Constitutional Court ruling that nations are to be considered constituent elements on the whole territory in BiH”, the CSOs say, adding that it would also mean that the state is giving up on Annex 7 of the Dayton Agreement which insists on return of all refugees and IDPs.
Furthermore, they note, the very introduction of the term “value of vote” based on national affiliation, directly introduces the principle of discrimination of citizens in the electoral system.
The NGOs also say that the proposal leads to full ethnic profiling of political parties – each of them getting a proper Bosniak, Serb, Croatian and “Others” quotient – and it will cement the domination of ethnic politics in BiH and prevent civic participation in political system over the long run.
“This proposal reduces the possibility for representatives of citizens and “Others” to run for seats in cantonal partliament, being of lower value for the political parties on which lists they would run, and also limits the possibilities for representatives of constitutional nations which are in minority in the given canton to run in cantonal parliamentary elections”, the NGOs say in the statement.
The signatory organizations conclude that such a system based on the privileged status reserved for constitutional peoples, at expense of citizens, “Others” and national minorities – would ultimately make it impossible to eliminate discrimination in Bosnia and Herzegovina and expose the country to new law suits for violation of human rights in the political system, profiling BiH as a country that legitimizes the results of ethnic cleansing and introduces apartheid in its political system.
The statement is signed by the following organizations: UG Zašto ne (Sarajevo); Kali Sara – Romski informativni centar (Sarajevo); Pravni institut u BiH (Sarajevo); Euro Rom (Tuzla); Inicijativa mladih za ljudska prava (Sarajevo); Fondacija za kreativni razvoj (Sarajevo); OKC Abrašević (Mostar); UNSA Geto (Banja Luka); Sarajevski otvoreni centar; Antifašistička akcija BiH (Mostar); Fondacija Ekipa (Sarajevo); Pokret Dosta; Oštra nula (Banja Luka); Akcija građana (Sarajevo); Centar za ljudska prava Univerziteta u Sarajevu; Udruženje za kulturu i umjetnost Crvena (Sarajevo); Fondacija CURE (Sarajevo); Revolt (Tuzla).
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