UN Human Rights Office warns against increased hate speech in Western Balkans – global issue

Speaker Liz Throssell SayOHCHR Deeply concerned about recent events in both countries that have seen individuals glorify atrocity crimes and convicted war criminals, target certain communities with hate speech, and in some cases directly incite violence.

The worry is that, ahead of the election, such behavior — fueled by continued inflammatory, nationalist and hate speech from some politicians — will increase this year.

“As we have repeatedly emphasized, the rise in hate speech, the denial of genocide and other atrocity crimes, and the glorification of war criminals in the Western Balkans underscore the failure to fully address the past,” he said. she says.

insult to survivors

The incidents took place during the religious festival last weekend in Republika Srpska, the Serb Administrative Entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brčko in the north and several locations in the Serbian cities of Priboj and Nova Pazar.

They included chanting the name of convicted war criminal and former Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic during the torch parade, or singing nationalist songs demanding the takeover of various parts of the former Yugoslavia. In one incident, someone fired shots in the air while driving past a mosque.

“These incidents, some of which took place where mass atrocities took place during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina … are an affront to survivors, including those who returned home after the conflict,” Ms Trossel said.

Fair investigation

She added that failure to stop or sanction them was a major obstacle to confidence-building and reconciliation.

“Severe incidents like this should Investigate promptly, efficiently and impartially, to prevent their repetition and perpetuation, and to foster public trust in authorities and institutions and among communities, which is essential for building social cohesion and peaceful societies. ”

OHCHR is encouraged that some senior politicians, as well as religious leaders, have condemned these acts and that the police have opened an investigation.

prevent recurrence

Ms. Throssell stressed the need for authorities in both countries to abide by their international obligations to ensure the right to truth, justice and reparation.

“They should also take steps to prevent recurrence and facilitate further reconciliation efforts,” she said. “We call on them to condemn and refrain from any advocacy of ethnic, racial or religious hatred.”

Furthermore, she recalls that States parties to the Covenant International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, are obliged to ensure that incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence is prohibited in law and in practice.

“All perpetrators and instigators of such acts must be held accountable,” she said.