We Condemn the Attacks Against the Helsinki Committee

Civil Rights Defenders is concerned about the recent threats and attacks against members of our partner organisation, the Helsinki Committee in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We call upon the authorities of Bosnia-Herzegovina to condemn the attacks and take all necessary measures to ensure the protection of human rights defenders.

“It is crucial that the authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina condemn the attacks against the members of the Helsinki Committee and other human rights defenders. It is their responsibility to bring about an environment where human rights defenders can operate freely without fear of reprisals”, said Goran Miletic, Programme Director at Civil Rights Defenders.

In mid January, the newspaper Oslobodenje published two defamatory articles about Vera Jovanovic, President of the Helsinki Committee in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and other members of the organisation. The articles contained statements that could incite to hostile opinions against the members of the Helsinki Committee. This was not the first time. In October 2011, a group named Herzeg-Bosnia Republican Alternative directed serious threats against the former President of the Helsinki Committee, Srdjan Dizdarevic, and the current President, Vera Jovanovic, on the website www.poskok.info.

In a letter sent to the Council of Ministers in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Minister of Human Rights and Refugees, the Minister of Security and the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, we call upon the authorities to condemn the attacks and take all necessary measures to ensure the protection of human rights defenders.