Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at the UNSC Meeting on Bosnia & Herzegovina
Statement06 November 2021
Thank you very much, Mr. President. I want to congratulate you for assuming the role of President for the current month, and to thank your predecessor Ambassador Kimani for such deft handling of last month, and thanks also to his team.
I want to begin by emphasizing our strong support for a single, sovereign, united and multi-ethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina and for the Office of the High Representative and EUFOR Althea.
We are pleased that the Resolution authorizing EUFOR Althea, in which Ireland is proud to participate, was adopted this afternoon.
I would like to thank High Representative Schmidt for his report. The High Representative has provided a clear and detailed assessment of the deeply concerning political deadlock and blockages in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Ireland remains fully supportive of the Office of the High Representative and encourages all parties in Bosnia-Herzegovina both to respect and engage to the fullest extent with the High Representative and his Office.
We would particularly encourage greater progress in fulfilling the 5+2 Agenda, which remains the only prescribed method by which the Office of the High Representative can complete its mission and entrust full responsibility for its own affairs to the State institutions and people of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Mr President, we remain greatly concerned by the divisive, negative rhetoric in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which only deepens existing divisions and diminishes the prospects for reconciliation. We call on all parties to repudiate such rhetoric and to refrain from any further unilateral actions that seek to undermine Bosnia and Herzegovina.
We are concerned in particular at glorification of war criminals. There can be no place in the modern Bosnia and Herzegovina for the glorification of war criminals and the denial of genocide.
Mr President, like all of us, Bosnia and Herzegovina, has faced serious problems as a result of the COVID‑19 pandemic but the political deadlock and paralysis of State institutions is compounding the frustration of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s citizens and is a factor driving so many young people to leave the country.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has been able to make significant achievements over the past quarter‑century, in building up its institutions of government and developing its economy and society. It has shown that the political path can work for all the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This must continue. Elected representatives, working together with the national leaderships, must cooperate to address the needs of their citizens.
Mr President, Ireland fully supports Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU perspective. We call on all parties to work towards common goals; to address the challenges created by Covid-19 and to step up the pace on implementing the reforms needed for EU accession.
This means addressing the needs of all citizens. We call on all parties to uphold and respect equality and inclusion as key principles that will underpin a stable prosperous future for Bosnia and Herzegovina and enable women to rightfully participate in decision-making in all its dimensions. Despite existing legislation, we know that the participation of women in politics remains low. We urge the authorities to ensure the development of effective mechanisms for the implementation of quotas to enhance women’s political representation. We call once again on the High Representative to focus on that important issue of gender equality and for reporting on the issue to be included in future OHR reports.
Mr President, progress is needed on reform of the electoral framework to meet European standards and guarantee that all citizens can exercise their political rights. We regret that there has been no move towards an agreement on these issues before the country moves into full election mode in 2022. Achieving these much needed reforms will require all sides to show leadership and engage in a sincere and constructive way.
In addition, progress is required on the 14 key reform priorities set out in the European Commission Opinion, in particular on the rule of law. This is essential to restore citizens’ trust in the judicial system. Bosnia and Herzegovina will only move forward on its EU path when it delivers on this critical mass of reforms.
Mr President, Bosnia and Herzegovina has much challenging work ahead of it but we hope that its leaders will resume the dialogue needed to tackle, step‑by-step in a pragmatic way, the issues facing the country. This will enable Bosnia and Herzegovina to take a decisive step toward overcoming the dismal legacy of the past and realise its full potential as a sovereign state within the European family of nations.