Ministers' Deputies / Rapporteur Groups
Rapporteur Group on Human Rights
GR-H(2005)9 12 April 20051
Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
Draft resolution on the implementation of the Convention by Bosnia and Herzegovina
Item to be considered by the GR-H at its meeting on 13 April 2005
on the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
by Bosnia and Herzegovina
(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on … 2005
at the … th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)
The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Articles 24 to 26 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (hereinafter referred to as “the Framework Convention”);
Having regard to Resolution (97) 10 of 17 September 1997 setting out rules adopted by the Committee of Ministers on the monitoring arrangements under Articles 24 to 26 of the Framework Convention;
Having regard to the voting rule adopted in the context of adopting Resolution (97) 10;2
Having regard to the accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Framework Convention on 24 February 2000;
Recalling that the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina transmitted its state report in respect of the first monitoring cycle under the Framework Convention on 20 February 2004;
Whereas the Advisory Committee accepted the invitation of the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina to send a delegation to gather further information in Bosnia and Herzegovina, this visit taking place from 23 to 27 February 2004;
Whereas the Advisory Committee's opinion on the implementation of the Framework Convention by Bosnia and Herzegovina was adopted on 27 May 2004 and then transmitted to the Permanent Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina and communicated to the permanent representatives of all member states as document CM(2004)143;
Whereas the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina submitted its written comments on the opinion of the Advisory Committee, these written comments having been communicated to the permanent representatives of all member states as an addendum to document CM(2004)143, dated 16 February 2004;
Having examined the Advisory Committee's opinion and the written comments of the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina;
Having also taken note of comments by other governments,
1. Adopts the following conclusions concerning the implementation of the Framework Convention by Bosnia and Herzegovina:
- It is to be welcomed that national minorities' issues have recently received attention by the authorities, as evidenced by the adoption of a Law on the Protection of Rights of Persons Belonging to National Minorities and amendments to the Election Law. Furthermore, the harmonisation of legislation by the Entities has, inter alia, allowed for further development of minority language education.
- The implementation of relevant norms in practice remains a major problem, particularly in relation to the Law on the Protection of Rights of Persons Belonging to National Minorities. The provisions on teaching minority languages, on media broadcasting for national minorities and on proportional representation in public authorities and in the civil service have not prompted substantial changes in practice. New consultation structures for national minorities, such as the proposed Council of National Minorities and corresponding bodies at the level of the Entities, have not been set up despite concrete legal obligations. These shortcomings need to be addressed as a matter of priority by the authorities both at the State and Entity levels.
- As regards access to political posts, rigid rules are still in force at the State level but progress has recently been made at Entity level in terms of widening access to certain authorities. Further consideration should therefore be given by the authorities to finding ways and means of addressing the exclusion of, inter alia, persons belonging to national minorities from certain posts at State and Entity levels. Consideration should also be given to developing specific parliamentary mechanisms to better protect the interests of national minorities. Greater attention should be paid to tackling discrimination in practice, notably in access to employment, a problem affecting all those not belonging to the constituent people in a numerical majority in the area concerned.
- Despite progress in the reconciliation process, there remains a lack of trust among ethnic groups and hostility related to the return of refugees and displaced persons. Efforts are needed to promote interethnic dialogue and to encourage wider acceptance of those currently referred to as “Others” as part of the society of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Given the needs and the demands in this matter, the possibility to give greater support for initiatives coming from national minorities to promote their languages and cultures should be considered.
- Serious problems remain in the application of the Framework Convention with regard to the Roma. Full and effective equality has not been secured for Roma, who continue to be exposed to discrimination and face particular difficulties in fields such as housing, health care, employment and education. A comprehensive national strategy is needed to improve their situation, drawing on the experience gained in the recent elaboration of an Action Plan on their educational needs. In this context, particular attention should be paid to ensuring improved participation of Roma in public affairs.
2. Recommends that Bosnia and Herzegovina take appropriate account of the conclusions set out in section 1 above, together with the various comments in the Advisory Committee's opinion.
3. Invites the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in accordance with Resolution (97) 10:
a. to continue the dialogue in progress with the Advisory Committee;
b. to keep the Advisory Committee regularly informed of the measures it has taken in response to the conclusions and recommendations set out in section 1 and 2 above.
Note 1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue. Unless the Committee of Ministers decides otherwise, it will be declassified according to the rules set up in Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.
Note 2 In the context of adopting Resolution (97) 10 on 17 September 1997, the Committee of Ministers also adopted the following rule: “Decisions pursuant to Articles 24.1 and 25.2 of the Framework Convention shall be considered to be adopted if two-thirds of the representatives of the Contracting parties casting a vote, including a majority of the representatives of the Contracting parties entitled to sit on the Committee of Ministers, vote in favour”.