Underlining the importance of youth engagement in the protection and promotion of human rights, Ambassador Sattler, Head of the EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative in BiH, marked the International Day of Human Rights in the BiH Parliament today, together with over 700 pupils from primary and secondary schools across Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Following powerful messages regarding violation of human rights worldwide, in the form of a flash mob performance, pupils were vocal in stressing the importance of understanding and protecting their rights, especially in the context of the most recent violations of the rights of the most vulnerable children with disabilities and the treatment of migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“We cannot and must not take human rights for granted. You have heard of the ongoing struggles; of how many children, women and vulnerable groups are still threatened. You must be aware of this and aim to do better. The European Union is here and will continue to stand with you. Upholding universal human rights and values and supporting human right defenders, women and children are at the core of the EU’s priorities and policies,” noted Ambassador Sattler.
International Day of Human Rights is marked on the 10th of December to mark the adoption of the Declaration on Human Rights, which was the first document to recognise the right of everyone to “life, freedom and safety without differences”. BiH Ombudsperson Jasminka Džumhur underlined the importance of upholding the key principles of the Declaration, in particular educating youth on its relevance. “If we leave the youth with the responsibility, we leave them the challenge of improving human rights in BiH. We are faced with negative demographic trends, especially a high trend of youth leaving the country. Without the human factor we cannot form development policies. Today’s event represents an effort to build bridges so we can jointly take responsibility, both the government and the youth,” remarked Džumhur.
In order to highlight the importance of the Declaration and the need to protect and promote human rights, Peace Awards were presented to schools and individuals dedicated to the promotion of reconciliation, peace and solidarity. These role models for new generations of civil rights defenders were awarded by the Ambassador of Italy in BiH, Nicola Minasi, and the Ambassador of Germany in BiH, Margret Uebber, while Ambassador Sattler handed over a special award to Jablanica High School for their remarkable efforts in the promotion of human rights, peace and European values.
Underlining the message that an empowered youth, knowledgeable of their rights and eager to promote and preserve solidarity, equality and tolerance, will be more successful in safeguarding fundamental rights than previous generations, the event also launched the campaign of the EU Office in BiH “EU4YourRights”. The campaign focuses on promotion of assistance from the European Union to the human rights sector and the importance of the protection of human rights of all citizens.