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Discrimination of minorities, media attacks persist in Bosnia - Amnesty

Author Maja Garaca
Discrimination of minorities, media attacks persist in Bosnia - Amnesty Author: Michał Huniewicz Licence: CC by 2.0

SARAJEVO (Bosnia and Herzegovina), February 22 (SeeNews) – Minorities continued to face widespread discrimination in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while threats and attacks against journalists persisted in 2017, human rights-focused non-governmental organisation Amnesty International said on Thursday.

Social exclusion and discrimination – in particular of Roma, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, and of people with disabilities – remained widespread, despite the adoption of a progressive Law on Prevention of Discrimination in 2016, the organisation said in the 2017/2018 edition of its annual report The State of the World’s Human Rights.

The 2009 judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in Sejdic-Finci v. Bosnia and Herzegovina which found the powersharing arrangements set out in the Constitution to be discriminatory, remained unimplemented, Amnesty pointed out.

It noted that throughout 2017, the pattern of threats, political pressure and attacks against journalists continued.

In July and August, Dragan Bursac, a journalist with Al Jazeera Balkans, received a series of death threats after publishing a piece in which he condemned public gatherings in Banja Luka city in support of a charged war criminal.

Besides this incident, local journalist associations documented nearly 40 cases of direct pressure, verbal threats and physical attacks against journalists by the end of the year.

In terms of crimes under international law, the domestic prosecution of war crimes remained slow, with a backlog of several hundred cases pending before various courts at the end of the year.

Amnesty commented that despite recent progress, the prosecutions continued to suffer from lack of capacity and resources, ineffective case-management and persistent political obstruction.

Although over 75% of missing persons from the war had been exhumed and identified, there were still 8,000 people missing in connection with the conflict, it added.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is made up of two entities, the Federation and the Serb Republic.