ŽELJKO KOMŠIĆ, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that the COVID-19 pandemic showed the vulnerability of the international system, but it also demonstrated the resilience of international institutions. He noted that the pandemic has widened the gap between developed and underdeveloped countries in access to medical equipment, medicines and vaccines. He emphasized the importance of bilateral cooperation and the critical assistance provided by neighbouring countries in the framework of the Central European Free Trade Agreement and the South-East European Regional Cooperation Council.
He stressed that circumstances have shed a new light on the Sustainable Development Goals and “climate change is no longer a matter of warnings from the scientific community”. However, developing countries do not have the resources to rapidly make the green transition a reality, and he called on the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the European Union to financially support this transition. He insisted that Bosnia and Herzegovina would stand behind its promise to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse‑gas emissions.
He reaffirmed his country’s commitment to protecting human rights for all its citizens. Yet, he regretted that the preservation of these rights was off track due to attempts to destabilize the country. He noted that its Constitution was based on the Dayton Peace Agreement ratified in 1995 and directly refers to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. He deplored that the equality of all individuals did not exist in the country with the existence of systematic discrimination and inequality depending on citizens’ ethnicity. This goes against the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, he said.
Addressing other issues facing his country, he said that prosecuting war crimes should be a priority, and warned against political moves by neighbouring countries attempting to destabilize the Western Balkans by targeting Bosnia and Herzegovina. Emphasizing the responsibility to implement the Dayton Peace Agreement through the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, he called on his office to protect international legal acts and fundamental values in the country.
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