Bosnia and Herzegovina is committed to undertake promotion of the full and effective equality of the persons belonging to minorities in all areas of economic, social, political and cultural life. This is something that is ratified through Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) and is aimed to allow national minorities to express, preserve and develop their culture and identity. The application of this Convention in Bosnia and Herzegovina was the topic of the Conference held on 12 April in Neum.
The conference gathered around 50 participants from competent authorities and other relevant representatives who are involved in reporting towards monitoring bodies of the Framework Convention.
Executive secretary and Head of Division of the Framework convention for the protection of national minorities, Council of Europe, Marco Leidekker, stated that “FCNM is the only legally binding multi-lateral instrument dedicated to national minorities and we insist on the proper implementation of the instrument in BiH”.
Besarion Bokhasvili, President of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, highlighted that he Committee was caught up with the existing legal requirements stating that teaching in languages of national minorities has a prerequisite that 33% of the population needs to belong to national minorities in order to maintain that teaching and that the numerical thresholds must not be an obstacle to the use of the language of national minorities.
Gianluca Vannini, Head of Operation Section for Social Development, Civil Society and Cross Border Cooperation of EU Delegation to BiH emphasized that non discrimination and social integration of minorities belong to core values of the EU. Some progress has been achieved on human rights and minority issues, but the national minorities continue to have low presence and participation in political and public debates and in the media, Vannini noted.
Saliha Đuderija, Assistant minister, BiH Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees presented a legal overview relating to minority protection and promotion and highlighted that the inclusion means together with others, not separated from the others, and in BiH, the differences between national minorities and the rest of the population continues to be made.
Conference was organised jointly with the BiH Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees within the project “Strengthening the protection of national minorities in BiH” that is funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe. This project is part of the joint programme called “Horizontal Facility for Western Balkans and Turkey”, implemented by the Council of Europe.