MINELRES: CoE FCNM: Bosnia and Herzegovina: publication of the 2nd cycle opinion and government comments

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Sat Jun 13 17:03:09 2009

Original sender: Nicola Markes-Goerlach <Nicola.MARKES-GOERLACH@coe.int>

Bosnia and Herzegovina: publication of the 2nd cycle opinion and
government comments

The Opinion of the Council of Europe Advisory Committee on the Framework
Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) on Bosnia
and Herzegovina has been made public by the Government. The Advisory
Committee adopted this Opinion in October 2008 following a country visit
in March 2008. 

Summary of the Opinion:

"Bosnia and Herzegovina has taken a number of measures to advance the
implementation of the Framework Convention. Legislation on the
protection of persons belonging to national minorities was adopted by
the Federation and Republika Srpska. Further steps should nonetheless be
taken to ensure that the existing legislation is fully implemented.

Persons belonging to national minorities continue to be included in the
category of "Others", do not enjoy the same political rights as those
belonging to the three constituent peoples and remain on the sidelines
of public affairs. They still have low visibility within the society
since the institutional system is focused on the interests of the three
constituent peoples.

Commendable Action Plans for Roma housing, health and employment were
recently devised with a view to advancing the implementation of the 2005
National Strategy for Roma. It is crucial that they are implemented
without further delay as many Roma continue to face serious difficulties
in the field of education, employment, housing and access to health
care. Moreover, their possibilities to participate in decision-making
processes are very limited.

In the field of education, there is a most worrying trend towards
increased segregation of pupils along ethnic lines. 

Consultative bodies for national minorities were set up in Republika
Srpska and at the state level. It is important that these bodies be
given adequate support so that they can effectively participate in the
formulation of laws and policies.

Finally, it is regrettable that the Election Law was amended in a way
that is likely to result in reduced possibilities for persons belonging
to national minorities to be represented in local councils."

The government comments on the Opinion have also been made public.

Note: The Framework Convention is ratified by 39 States. The Convention
includes a monitoring system, whereby the Committee of Ministers,
assisted by an advisory committee, evaluates the adequacy of the
Convention's implementation. The Opinions of the Advisory Committee are
made public upon the adoption of the Committee of Ministers’ resolution
but can be made public at an earlier stage at the country’s initiative.


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