Friday, April 4, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 4,2008) - Douglas Davidson, Head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Mission to Bosnia, said yesterday that helping Bosnia develop true democratic governance, which necessarily includes a free press, an independent judiciary, and an active civil society, as well as an embedded respect for human rights and the rule of law, continues to form the core of Mission’s work.

“I believe that this organization can and will continue to help Bosnia become a state composed of citizens enjoying equality under the law and equal political, civil, economic, and social rights in a multinational and multi-confessional democratic polity. The creation of such a state requires continuing attention to the development of representative-democratic and market-economic institutions,” he stated in a report discussed yesterday by the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna,Austria.

In this report, however, he also pointed out that: “These goals, are, however, not easy to reach, for they require genuine commitment not just among political leaders but also among all the people of the country.”

Ambassador Davidson raised concerns in his report as well about the future of the freedom of the press in Bosnia, noting that “the same division that exists in society increasingly marks the mass media in the country.”

He added that “the individual organs of the Bosnian mass media, perhaps naturally, tend to represent the interests of a single ethic group or even of a single political party representing that ethic group, which leads to less-than-panoramic reporting on the issues of the day”.

He also observed that the establishment of justice is crucial to the maintenance of peace: “The creation of a state court for the prosecution of serious offences against international law has been among the most significant single steps taken in recent years. Unfortunately, the development of support structures lags behind.”

Ambassador Davidson also noted that encouraging and assisting Bosnia’s disparate systems of education to promote a sense of common “stateness” as well as a greater tolerance for and understanding of the differences of others remained one of his Mission’s central endeavours.

He added, however, that this is proving to be one of its more difficult tasks as well, for, as with mass media, “this is because the divides in education exactly mirror the divides in the political life in the country”.

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