On 12 May, members of the Initiative for monitoring the European Integration Integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina sent a letter to the Chairman and members of the Interim Joint Commission of both Houses of the BiH Parliamentary Assembly about the procedure for the appointment of the three Human Rights Ombudsmen in BiH.
As a coalition of thirty respectable, non-governmental organizations gathered around the issues of democratization, rule of law, human and minority rights, that publishes its findings in the form of annual Alternative Progress Report, we expressed our interest in the appointment of the Ombudsman for Human Rights .
Led by the highest standards of democratization of society, the European acquis but also the Paris Principles related to the status of national/state institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights, we believe that it is desirable and useful for civil society organizations that are active in the field of promotion and protection of human rights, to also be actively involved in the entire process of the appointment of the Ombudsmen. We believe that civil society organizations should have a consultative status in the process, as it is similar to the case in the appointment of the Ombudsman in 2008.
Paris Principles, which were adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1993, in the chapter “Composition and guarantees of independence and pluralism” (Point 1), invite Member States of the United Nations, that in the appointment of national human rights institutions, in our case, in the appointment of Human Rights Ombudsman, that they provide “pluralistic representativeness and the presence of civil society organizations”.
Experience from the neighboring Croatia Republic, in the appointment of the Ombudsman and the National Ombudsperson, as well as the practice of other states of the European Union, showed that civil society organizations can contribute significantly to the quality of the appointment process, in a way that they were involved in the process of evaluation of individual candidacies, in interviewing the candidates and ultimately in proposing the best candidates, men and women, for appointment by the Parliament.
Member organizations of the Initiative for monitoring the European Integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina are making themselves and their expertise available to the Temporary Joint Committee of both Houses for the procedure of the appointment of the three Human Rights Ombudsmen in BiH, in a hope that they can be helpful with advices, relevant experience and the process of selection and evaluation of candidates. We believe that civil society organizations, such as organizations gathered in our coalition, can contribute to the transparency of this process, by informing the general public about the process of applying, interviewing and ultimately in the appointment.
The letter was sent to:
- Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, for the attention of Minister;
- Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, for the attention of Assistant Minister for Human Rights
- EU Delegation to BiH, for the attention of ambassador,
- EU Delegation to BiH, for the attention of Chief political office
- EU Delegation to BiH, for the attention of the Officer for Human Rights
- Council of Europe, Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina; for the attention of Head of office
- OSCE Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
- US Embassy