UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Visits Bosnia and Herzegovina

UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights

The United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Flavia Pansieri, visited Bosnia and Herzegovina from 28 to 30 August. Her visit coincided with the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, when H.E. Mr. Bakir Izetbegović, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Dr. Ivo Josipović, President of the Republic of Croatia, H.E. Mr. Filip Vujanović, President of Montenegro and H.E. Mr. Tomislav Nikolić, President of the Republic of Serbia, signed a joint declaration on “The Role of the State in Addressing the Issue of Persons Missing as a Consequence of Armed Conflict and Human Rights Abuses”.

During her visit, the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights met representatives of the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees and two Ombudsmen for Human Rights of BiH. Ms. Pansieri also met with local civil society organisations.

“At the heart of the obligations of States to determine the fate and whereabouts of persons who are unaccounted for is the right to the truth. This right is closely linked with the right to justice, the right to reparations, and guarantees of non-recurrence of violations - States have an obligation, clearly established in international law, to investigate violations and prosecute perpetrators.
The failure to address the issue of missing persons and uncover the truth can seriously hamper peace and reconciliation efforts and can undermine relationships between communities for generations. In contrast, efforts to solve the issue of the missing can contribute to building trust, tolerance and legitimacy, which in turn prevent the recurrence of conflicts – bringing stability and long-term prosperity”, said Ms. Flavia Pansieri, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner on Human Rights.

To date, the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which entered into force in December 2010, has been signed by 93 States and ratified by 43. It provides a sound foundation for fighting impunity, protecting disappeared persons and their families and strengthening the guarantees provided by the rule of law -- including investigation, justice and redress.
Ms. Pansieri urged all Member States to support efforts to solve the fate of missing persons.