News 10 Dec 12

Bosnia Marks Human Rights Day with Mock Funeral

Human rights activists in various cities marched peacefully in order to point out crude violations of human rights across Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Aida Mia Alic
BIRN
Sarajevo

The activists of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, YIHR, carried an improvised casket and a slogan which read “Human Rights: Rest in Peace” in peaceful marches organised on the streets of Sarajevo, Banja Luka and Mostar.

According to YIHR, the aim of the action was to symbolically point out “the constant violations of human rights by the state institutions on all levels.”

“Citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina are aware that their human rights are threatened at almost every level of power, but at the same time they know very little, so we informed them how they can exercise their rights and where to turn to have their rights honoured,” said Alma Masic, the head of YIHR.

Masic added that with Monday’s campaign citizens and YIHR activists wanted to offer symbolical support to people of Prijedor who were banned from holding a public gathering on the International Human Rights Day.

“We are doing this symbolically as a support to our friends in Prijedor who were once again denied by their mayor the right to gather in public in order to mark the International Human Rights Day. It is an indication that in some parts of this country you don’t have the right to voluntarily gather and organise yourselves as citizens,” said Masic.

The committee for commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the massacre of Bosniaks in the municipality of Prijedor planned to organise a peace march through the city on the International Human Rights Day, but the event was banned only several days prior.

“This peace march should point out to numerous crude ethnic-based violations of human rights in Prijedor. With this ban the local police demonstrated that they receive their orders from the local authorities,” reads a press release issued by the committee.

Despite the ban, a group of citizens held a peaceful protest in order to emphasise the violation of their constitutional right to freedom of expression and assembly.

The individuals who gathered in Prijedor at the end of their peace march sent out a message: “Where civil rights are being violated, civil disobedience becomes a duty.”

The International Human Rights Day was marked with various events in Jajce, Brcko, Tuzla, Srebrenica and Zvornik.

 

 

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