The Human Truth Foundation

Human Rights and Freedom in Bosnia & Herzegovina

By Vexen Crabtree 2018

#Bosnia_&_Herzegovina #equality #freedom #human_rights #politics #tolerance

Bosnia & Herzegovina
[Country Profile Page]
StatusIndependent State
Social and Moral Index54th best
CapitalSarajevo
Land Area 51 000km21
LocationEurope, The Balkans, The Mediterranean
Population3.3m2
Life Expectancy76.63yrs (2017)3
GNI$10 091 (2017)4
ISO3166-1 CodesBA, BIH, 705
Internet Domain.ba6
CurrencyMarka (BAM)7
Telephone+3878

Bosnia & Herzegovina does relatively well in ensuring human rights and freedom, compared to many other countries. Bosnia & Herzegovina comes in the best 20 in its nominal commitment to Human Rights9. It does better than average in opposing gender inequality10 (but high for Europe), LGBT equality11 (but low for Europe), its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice12, supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms13 (but high for Europe), supporting press freedom14 (but bad for Europe) and in speed of uptake of HR treaties15. Bosnia & Herzegovina does not succeed in everything, however. It does worse than average in commentary in Human Rights Watch reports16 (amongst the lowest in Europe). Things aren't perfect, and the country made little progress by 201717 on issues raised by the ECtHR in 2009, with constitutional discrimination continuing against Jews, Roma and other minorities17. There is too much intimidation of journalists17 and LGBT folk face hate speech, harassment and some needless inequalities18.


1. Bosnia & Herzegovina's Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance

#equality #human_rights #morals #politics #prejudice #tolerance

Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance (2020)19,20
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank19,20
1Denmark9.7
2Sweden10.0
3Norway16.1
...
44Peru54.9
45Mexico55.4
46Panama57.1
47Bosnia & Herzegovina58.8
48Bolivia60.0
49S. Africa60.3
50Serbia61.1
51Guatemala63.3
52Kosovo63.8
World Avg89.8
q=199.

The best countries in the world at ensuring human rights, fostering equality and promoting tolerance, are Denmark, Sweden and Norway19. These countries are displaying the best traits that humanity has to offer. The worst countries are Tuvalu, The Solomon Islands and Palestine19.

The data sets used to calculate points for each country are statistics on commentary in Human Rights Watch reports, its nominal commitment to Human Rights, speed of uptake of HR treaties, supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms, supporting press freedom, eliminating modern slavery, opposing gender inequality, the year from which women could participate in democracy, its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice and LGBT equality. The regions with the best average results per country are Scandinavia, Baltic States and Europe19, whereas the worst are Micronesia, Melanesia and Australasia19.

2. Human Rights & Tolerance Data Sets

There was little visible progress on human rights during 2017. Authorities failed yet again to end structural and political discrimination against Jews, Roma, and other minorities. There was limited progress towards accountability for war crimes in domestic courts. Journalists remain vulnerable to intimidation and threats. ... More than 98,000 people remain displaced from their original homes, despite the fact that conflict ended more than 20 years ago.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)17

The constitution is fundamentally discriminatory against minorities such as Jews and Roma, and any others who are not Bosniaks, Serbs or Croats17. Only members of the latter three groups can be candidates for the national tripartite presidency and the House of Peoples17 and The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled in 2009 and in 2016 that this violates the European Convention on Human Rights17. The best-practice in democracies and fair societies is to treat citizens equally without creating laws specific to any race, religion or ethnicity, and it is failure to observe this best-practice that has led to the Human Right violation as highlighted by the ECtHR.

2.1. Human Rights Watch Comments

#human_rights

Human Rights Watch Comments (2017)16
Pos.Higher is better
Score16
1UK9
2France9
3Germany9
...
93Uzbekistan-6
94Iraq-6
95Bangladesh-6
96Bosnia & Herzegovina-6
97Jordan-6
98Kazakhstan-6
99Cuba-6
100Yemen-7
World Avg-1.9
q=123.

Human Rights Watch comments concentrate mostly on negative issues, however, they also make positive comments for those countries that engage in human rights defence around the world, or who make improvements at home. By adding up positive and negative comments (including double-points for negatives that involve large scales and crimes against humanity), the Social and Moral Index turns HRW commentary into quantified values. Some countries may be unfairly penalized because HRW have not examined them, and, some countries "get away" with abuses if they manage to hide it, or if it goes unnoticed - a negative point has been given for those countries in which HRW specifically state that access to investigators has been barred. The points were limited to a minimum of -10 because there are some points at which things are so bad, with abuses affecting so many, it is difficult to be more specific about the depths of the issues.

2.2. Nominal Commitment to HR

#human_rights

Nominal Commitment to HR (2009)9
Pos.Higher is better
Treaties9
1Argentina24
2Chile23
3Costa Rica23
...
21Guatemala21
22Mali21
23Azerbaijan21
24Bosnia & Herzegovina21
25Bolivia21
26Australia21
27France21
28Senegal21
World Avg15.1
q=194.

There are many international agreements on human rights, and, many mechanisms by which countries can be brought to account for their actions. Together, these have been the biggest historical movement in the fight against oppression and inhumanity. Or, putting it another way: these are rejected mostly by those who wish to oppress inhumanely. None of them are perfect and many people object to various components and wordings, but, no-one has come up with, and enforced, better methods of controlling the occasional desires that states and peoples have of causing angst for other states and peoples in a violent, unjust or inhumane way. Points are awarded for the number of human rights agreements ratified by the country, plus the acceptance of the petition mechanisms for disputes. The maximum possible score in 2009 was 24.

2.3. HR Treaties Lag

#human_rights #international_law #micronesia #politics #small_islands

HR Treaties Lag (2019)15
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Yrs/Treaty15
1Ecuador2.15
2Uruguay2.25
3Tunisia3.65
...
74Belize8.88
75Yemen8.88
76Japan9.16
77Bosnia & Herzegovina9.17
78India9.18
79Bangladesh9.18
80Sierra Leone9.33
81China9.36
World Avg10.02
q=195.

Human Rights (HR) Treaties Lag is a count of how long it took each country to sign each of 11 key HR treaties. From the date of the first signatory of each treaty, all other countries have one point added to their score for each day they delayed in signing. Results are presented as average time in years to sign each one. The lower a country's score, the more enthusiastically it has taken on international Human Rights Treaties - which are, of course, minimal standards of good governance. The slowest are the countries of Micronesia, Melanesia, Australasia and Polynesia all lagged by over 12 years per treaty. The best regions are The Americas, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.

2.4. Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom

#freedom #politics

Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom (2014)13
Pos.Lower is better
Rank13
1Hong Kong1
2Switzerland2
3New Zealand3
...
51Seychelles51
52Israel52
53Peru53
54Bosnia & Herzegovina54
55Armenia55
56Macedonia55
57Suriname55
58El Salvador58
World Avg79.7
q=159.

The Human Freedom Index published by the Fraser Institute is...

... a broad measure of human freedom, understood as the absence of coercive constraint. It uses 79 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom in the following areas: Rule of Law, Security and Safety, Movement, Religion, Association, Assembly, and Civil Society, Expression, Relationships, Size of Government, Legal System and Property Rights, Access to Sound Money, Freedom to Trade Internationally, Regulation of Credit, Labor, and Business. [...]

The highest levels of freedom are in Western Europe, Northern Europe, and North America (Canada and the United States. The lowest levels are in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. [...]

Countries in the top quartile of freedom enjoy a significant higher per capita income ($37,147) [compared with] the least-free quartile [at] $8,700). The HFI finds a strong correlation between human freedom and democracy.

"The Human Freedom Index" by The Fraser Institute (2016)21

2.5. Press Freedom

#democracy #freedom #mass_media #politics #UK

Press Freedom (2013)14
Pos.Lower is better14
1Finland638
2Netherlands648
3Norway652
...
64Central African Rep.2661
65Tonga2670
66Mauritania2676
67Bosnia & Herzegovina2686
68Guyana2708
69Tanzania2734
70Kenya2780
71Zambia2793
World Avg3249
q=178.

The freedom to investigate, publish information, and have access to others' opinion is a fundamental part of today's information-driven world. Scores on the Press Freedom Index are calculated according to indicators including pluralism - the degree to which opinions are represented in the media, media independence of authorities, self-censorship, legislation, transparency and the infrastructure that supports news and information, and, the level of violence against journalists which includes lengths of imprisonments. The index "does not take direct account of the kind of political system but it is clear that democracies provide better protection for the freedom to produce and circulate accurate news and information than countries where human rights are flouted".

It must be noted that press freedom is not an indicator of press quality and the press itself can be abusive; the UK suffers in particular from a popular brand of nasty reporting that infuses several of its newspapers who are particularly prone to running destructive and often untrue campaigns against victims. The Press Freedom Index notes that "the index should in no way be taken as an indicator of the quality of the media in the countries concerned".

Journalists continue to work in an environment where threats and intimidation are common. The national journalists' association BH Novinari registered, in the first nine months of 2017, 45 cases involving assault on media freedom and expression, including nine physical attacks, seven death threats and six other threats, and two cases of defamation. The state response remains inadequate.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)22

2.6. Slavery

#burundi #eritrea #france #human_rights #indonesia #slavery

Slavery (2018)23
Pos.Lower is better
% Victims23
1Japan0.03
2Canada0.05
3Taiwan0.05
...
65Yemen0.31
66Namibia0.33
67Serbia0.33
68Bosnia & Herzegovina0.34
69Botswana0.34
70Honduras0.34
71Poland0.34
72Singapore0.34
World Avg0.65
q=167.

The taking of slaves has been an unwholesome feature of Human cultures since prehistory24. Private households and national endeavours have frequently been augmented with the use of slaves. The Egyptian and Roman empires both thrived on them for both purposes. Aside from labourers they are often abused sexually by their owners and their owners' friends25. The era of colonialism and the beginnings of globalisation changed nothing: the imprisonment and forced movements of labour continued to destroy many lives except that new justifications were invented based on Christian doctrine and the effort to convert non-Christians. By 1786 over 12 million slaves had been extracted from Africa and sent to colonial labour camps, with a truly atrocious condition of life26. But they were not the only ones to blame; in Africa internal nations such as the Asantes sold and bought tens of thousands of slaves27.

The abolition of the slave trade was a long and slow process. Until a relatively modern time, even philosophers, religious leaders and those concerned with ethics justified, or ignored, the problem of slavery28. The first abolitionists were always the slaves themselves. Their protests and rebellions caused the industry to become too expensive to continue. After that, it was the economic costs of maintain slave colonies that led the British to reject and then oppose the slave trade globally. Finally, the enlightenment-era thinkers of France encouraged moral and ethical thinking including the declaration of the inherent value of human life and human dignity29. A long-overdue wave of compassionate and conscientious movements swept across the West, eliminating public support for slavery, until the industries and churches that supported it had no choice but to back down.

'Modern slavery' includes forced labour (often of the under-age), debt bondage (especially generational), sexual slavery, chattel slavery and other forms of abuse, some of which can be surprisingly difficult to detect, but often target those fleeing from warzones and the vulnerable.30. Some industries (diamond, clothing, coal) from some countries (Burundi23, Eritrea23, Indonesia31) are a particular concern. The Walk Free Foundation, say that in 2016, 40.3 million people were living in modern slavery32.

3. Gender Equality Data Sets

Bosnia & Herzegovina is on the way towards ending gender inequality.

See:

3.1. Gender Inequality

#gender #gender_equality #human_rights #misogyny #women

Gender Inequality (2015)10
Pos.Lower is better10
1Switzerland0.04
2Denmark0.04
3Netherlands0.04
...
32Belarus0.14
33Montenegro0.16
34New Zealand0.16
35Bosnia & Herzegovina0.16
36Macedonia0.16
37China0.16
38Libya0.17
39Slovakia0.18
World Avg0.36
q=159.

The UN Human Development Reports include statistics on gender equality which take into account things like maternal mortality, access to political power (seats in parliament) and differences between male and female education rates. Gender inequality is not a necessary part of early human development. Although a separation of roles is almost universal due to different strengths between the genders, this does not have to mean that women are subdued, and, such patriarchialism is not universal in ancient history. Those cultures and peoples who shed, or never developed, the idea that mankind ought to dominate womankind, are better cultures and peoples than those who, even today, cling violently to those mores.

3.2. Year Women Can Vote

#christianity #gender_equality #human_rights #politics #women

Year Women Can Vote
Pos.Lower is better
Year
1New Zealand1893
2Australia1902
3Finland1906
...
78Costa Rica1949
79Chile1949
80China1949
81Bosnia & Herzegovina1949
82Barbados1950
83India1950
84Haiti1950
85Antigua & Barbuda1951
World Avg1930
q=189.

Women now have equal rights in the vast majority of countries across the world. Although academic literature oftens talks of when a country "grants women the right to vote", this enforces a backwards way of thinking. Women always had the right to vote, however, they were frequently denied that right. The opposition to women's ability to vote in equality with man was most consistently and powerfully opposed by the Catholic Church, other Christian organisations, Islamic authorities and some other religious and secular traditionalists.

4. Prejudice Data Sets

4.1. Anti-Semite Opinions

#antisemitism #christianity #germany #indonesia #israel #jordan #judaism #laos #morocco #netherlands #pakistan #philippines #religion #religious_violence #saudi_arabia #spain #sweden #turkey #UK #vietnam

Anti-Semite Opinions (2014)12
Pos.Lower is better
%12
1Laos0
2Philippines3
3Sweden4
...
49Georgia32
50Kazakhstan32
51Bangladesh32
52Bosnia & Herzegovina32
53Costa Rica32
54Uruguay33
55Croatia33
56Botswana33
World Avg36.8
q=101.

Anti-Semitism is the world given to irrational racism against Jews. It is not the same as anti-Judaism (involving arguments against the religion) nor the same as anti-Zionism (arguments against Israel). In history, influential Christian theologians concocted the arguments against Jews that led, very early on, to widespread Christian action against Jews33,34,35,36. As Christianity rose to power in the West and presided over the Dark Ages, there were widespread violent outbursts against Jews of the most persistent and horrible kind. The Crusades were frequently aimed at them and the feared Spanish Inquisition paid Jews particular attention. The horror of the holocaust instigated by German Nazis in the 1940s was followed (finally) by the era of European human rights and a movement against racism in general.

The places that are the least anti-Semitical are a few countries of south-east Asia (Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam) and some of the secular liberal democracies of Europe (Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK). The worst countries for antisemitism are Islamic states of the Middle East37, which are undergoing their own Dark Age. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Indonesia, Pakistan and Turkey see the most oppressive and violent actions towards Jews38,39. Jews in Muslim countries face a host of restrictions and "ceaseless humiliation and regular pogroms"40. In 2004 the European Union Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia reported on violent anti-Jew crimes in the EU and found that that largest group of perpetrators were young Muslim males41.

4.2. LGBT Equality

#equality #homosexuality #human_rights #intolerance #sexuality #tolerance

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people face hate speech and threats. [...] Between January and September 2017, Sarajevo Open Centre, an LGBT rights organization, documented 39 cases of hate speech, mostly on social networks and online portals, seven cases of discrimination, and 23 cases of hate crimes towards LGBT people [including] illegal imprisonment and forced conversion therapies by family members [...]. The reaction of police and public authorities to these incidents was generally inadequate.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)18

LGBT Equality (2017)11
Pos.Higher is better
Score11
1Netherlands103
2Belgium90
3Sweden86
...
49Montenegro35
50Guatemala35
51Japan35
52Bosnia & Herzegovina35
53Georgia35
54Nicaragua35
55El Salvador35
56Kosovo35
World Avg12.6
q=196.

Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) folk is rife across the world. Legal restrictions co-exist alongside social stigmatisation and physical violence42. LGBT tolerance and equal rights have been fought for country-by-country across the world, often against tightly entrenched cultural and religious opposition. Adult consensual sexual activity is a Human Right, protected by privacy laws43. Despite this, homosexual activity is outlawed in around 80 countries42. The Social & Moral LGBT Equality Index was created to compare countries and regions, granting points to each country for a variety of factors including how long gay sex has been criminalized and the extent of LGBT legal rights. Graded negative points are given for criminality of homosexuality, unequal ages of consent, legal punishments and for not signing international accords on LGBT tolerance. The signs in many developed countries are positive, and things are gradually improving. Europe is by far the least prejudiced region (Scandinavia in particular being exemplary). The Middle East and then Africa are the least morally developed, where cultural bias goes hand-in-hand with state intolerance, all too often including physical violence.