Nationalism in BiH is constantly used for political purposes, but in the last month, we witnessed the phenomenon of rampant nature and the incitement to violence which creates an atmosphere of hatred among the citizens of BiH.
The Coalition for the fight against hate speech and hate crimes harshly condemns the transmission of texts of hooliganism like that of Tomislav Zelenika, which provokes Croat hatred towards the Bosniaks and spreads ideas about the superiority of one nation over another, stating: “Bosniaks are genetically predetermined for treason, what to expect from people whose ancestors betrayed their faith”, giving honour medals to war criminals during the celebration of the Republika Srpska Day, the exploitation of flags and symbols for political purposes and the undermining of the security and coexistence of citizens of BiH.
This rhetoric, the moves of high political officials and the emphasis on the “genetic” and other differences of the people in BiH are reminding us of the atmosphere of the 1990s that led to the war in BiH, the genocide in Srebrenica and other war crimes in the territory of BiH, and other countries in the region. The potential for superiority or inferiority of one nation over another is also an aspect of the ideology of Nazism that led to the creation of the Third Reich and the persecution of Jews and other “inadequate” peoples and persons, resulting in the Holocaust and the long-standing war. Such rhetoric today leads to hate crimes and incitement to violence and hatred, which are recognized as criminal offences by all criminal codes in BiH.
The Coalition appeals to all media to monitor the ethical code in reporting, and to spread tolerance, and to fight all forms of hatred, reporting with full social and moral responsibility, by failing to carry out its professional journalistic work in a sensationalist manner and removing rampant comments and texts. We also appeal to civil society to rise clearly against nationalism and all other forms of xenophobia and to promote values of inclusion and protection of human rights in BiH.
All peoples and citizens of BiH deserve to live safe and dignified. We expect the competent institutions to start their work and prosecute those responsible for provoking hatred and violence
Members of Coalition for the fight against hate speech and hate crimes
Association for democratic initiatives
Youth Centre KVART
Civil Rights Defenders
Foundation Mediacentre Sarajvo
Youth Initiative for Human Rights of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Youth Journal Association in BiH (ONA)
Sarajevo Open Centre
BH Jorunalist Association
Press Council of BiH
Tuzla Open Center