Respect for Human Rights in Bosnia & Herzegovina is Lowest in Western Balkans, Opinion Poll Finds

The perceived respect for human rights is by far lower in Bosnia & Herzegovina than any other Western Balkan state, a recent poll conducted by Civil Rights Defenders has found. In a public opinion poll assessing the extent to which issues relating to human rights, media freedoms, equality and the rule of law are respected in each of the region’s countries, citizens of Bosnia & Herzegovina offered the most concerning assessment on several key accounts.

Graphs highlighting the key findings and the research methodology are available here.

Key Findings

  • Roughly 1 in 10 citizens of Bosnia & Herzegovina believe human rights are fully respected, significantly lower than the Western Balkans average.
  • 74% of Bosnia & Herzegovina’s citizens believe discrimination is widespread, notably higher than in any other Western Balkan state (Kosovo 63%, North Macedonia 60%).
  • Barely 1 in 4 citizens of Bosnia & Herzegovina believe the rule of law is respected in the country.
  • Post-war generations in Bosnia & Herzegovina believe ethnicity and religion have a far greater impact on inequality than older citizens.
  • Less than 1 in 10 citizens of Bosnia & Herzegovina believe media freedoms are respected in the country, significantly lower than any other Western Balkan state.
  • Perceptions on the respect of media freedoms and the right to peaceful assembly are slightly worse in Republika Srpska than in the Federation of BiH.

Our Programme Officer for Bosnia & Herzegovina, Ena Bacvic, commented “for those working on human rights issues in the country, we initially expect citizens of Bosnia & Herzegovina might have a relatively negative view regarding issues such as the respect for rule of law, but to see such resoundingly depressive responses, by far the worst compared to even the Western Balkans average, is simply alarming. Moreover, while the country’s politicians continue to bicker over national identities and boundaries, this survey sends the clearest picture about how citizens view their collective governance.”

These public opinion polls were carried out as part of region-wide research conducted by Civil Rights Defenders, together with IPSOS Strategic Marketing, with a representative sample size of over 6000 respondents.

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