Speech of Mr. Toni Pavloski, Deputy Head of Office of the CoE in Sarajevo Speech of Mr. Toni Pavloski, Deputy Head of Office of the CoE in Sarajevo

Committee on Gender Equality of the House of Representatives of the PA BiH

"Towards the 2018 Elections"

8 March 2018



Dear Chairman,
Dear Members of the Parliamentary Assembly,
Dear Minister,
Ladies and Gentlemen,


Please allow me in at the beginning, on behalf of the Office of the Council of Europe in Sarajevo, to thank you for the opportunity to address you at this event. Gender equality, in all the domains is crucial for the Council of Europe, the organisation in which BiH has been a member since 2002. It is permeated through all of the aspects of the work of the CoE, including the support programs, and this is not an exception for BiH, which uses many opportunities at its disposal as a full member state. And perhaps there is no better moment - than on March 8th - to open a discussion on how to improve the participation of women in politics and electoral processes. I would like to join others congratulating to all, the International Women's Day.


Benazir Bhutto, Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Corazon Aquino, Eva Peron - these are just some of the names of women leaders of the 20th century who dared to enter the world of politics, a world reserved for men. They took their own and the fate of their compatriots into their own hands and changed the world for the better. They didn’t only leave their work for the permanent inheritance of their nations; they still motivate the new generations of women politicians of the 21st century. It was not easy to be leading the counties then or now.

Because, ever since the beginning of times, the right to word and politics itself, was reserved for men. It is so since the ancient times, immortalised in Homer's Odyssey when Telemachus tells his mother Penelope about speaking men's business: "Take up your own work, the loom and the distaff…speech will be the business of man, all man, and of me most of all; for mine is the power in this household,” Telemachus says, while his mother humbly listens.

In the history of the human race, many structures have changed - from the primeval monarchies to the democracy - but one thing remains the same: the archaic relationship between a man and a woman, a woman who does not have the same rights, the least in politics. It's true that the things have changed, participation of women in politics is improving, but the structures of domination still exist.

But from a few months ago we are witnessing something of extraordinary significance. The Weinstein affair has led to the #metoo movement that had its echo even in our hilly Balkans. It is a scream against the abuse, against inequality, against domination. A scream that needs to makes us hear, a scream sent to everyone, especially to us men. It's not a woman's fight against a man - it's a call for a joint fight against violence and injustice against women. This is a historical moment for relations between the two sexes, but also for our society and democracy.

At the heart of the Council of Europe, an organisation that emerged from the ruins of World War II, is the pursuit of lasting peace, democracy and human rights on our continent. And democracy without participation, without the participation of women, is not a complete democracy. The right to choose, but also the right to be elected in free elections. The right to participate in the conduct of public affairs and politics. The right to show everyone what they know and can. This right is not just the right of men, but also the right of women.

Promotion of the participation of women in public and political life is one of the priorities in our organisation. How does CoE assist BiH on this plan?

Firstly, the gender perspective and gender equality are interlinked through all cooperation projects between the CoE and BiH. Through the School for Political Studies in which we noted parity, we worked on increasing the capacity of young leaders not only for greater active participation of women, but also for promoting policies of participation in political and public life.

In close consultation with the authorities and on the basis of appropriate monitoring bodies’ recommendations, the CoE will be ready to provide pre-election assistance in the wider framework of the new Action Plan for the period 2018-2021, which should be adopted soon, in order to increase the political participation of women by supporting media campaigns to promote women in political life and raise awareness of citizens about the importance of participation in elections, and we plan to work on strengthening the capacities of the Gender Equality Agency, through a set of activities aimed at the problem of representing women in political life;

Recently, within the confidence building program, the group "Women for BiH" started operating, they held two meetings at which they discussed on how to increase the participation of women in public life.

Finally, allow me to say few words about Istanbul Convention, one of the most important  conventions of the CoE that is relevant to today's topic and today's day. The Istanbul Convention, in the last few months, unfortunately, received negative connotation in our region, and its aim is to help member states to effectively prevent violence against women and domestic violence. As it is known, BiH was among the first to sign and ratify this convention. Through the new Action Plan for BiH, the CoE will support activities to build institutional capacities and provide assistance to victims of domestic violence. What is especially needed are the efforts in the fight against gender-based violence. After consultations with the Gender Equality Agency and taking into account the findings of the CoE monitoring, future support will be directed towards developing of an effective mechanism for prosecuting violence against women and domestic violence, by providing high-quality training for human rights for lawyers, with a special emphasis on violence against women and domestic violence;

Furthermore, we will work on strengthening the capacity of the Agency to establish a functional system of data collection and analysis of gender-based violence and cases of femicide.

There is obviously room for greater participation of women in public life, politics and electoral processes, and we are ready, in cooperation with the authorities at all levels, to support these processes.

Thank you for your attention.       

Speech of ambassador drahoslav stefanek, head of office of the Council of Europe in Sarajevo Speech of ambassador drahoslav stefanek, head of office of the Council of Europe in Sarajevo
Sarajevo , 

Combating Hate Speech in Sport

A workshop bringing together youth and sport officials, researchers and policy-makers to deepen the understanding of hate speech in sport and identify appropriate responses

Dear Deputy Minister,

Dear Colleagues, Excellences, ladies and gentlemen,


I would like to welcome all of you here in Sarajevo on behalf of the Council of Europe (CoE) and its office in Sarajevo. It is an honour and pleasure for me to be with you here and to open today’s workshop on combatting hate speech in sport.

Generally, the Council of Europe’s work in the field of sport focuses on four major priorities:

  • the Anti-Doping Convention;
  • the Convention on an Integrated Safety, Security and Service approach at Sport Events – the fight against spectator violence;
  • the Match-Fixing Convention – prevention of the manipulation of sports competitions;
  • and last but not least: the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS)


Today’s workshop will focus on the fourth sport priority of the CoE – EPAS: EPAS is the intergovernmental co-operation platform of the CoE to promote an ethical, inclusive and safe sport in Europe.

EPAS currently has 38 member states and 25 European and international NGOs related to sport such as UEFA, the EOC which are giving input to EPAS’ work.

As you are well aware, the CoE’s core values are human rights, democracy and the rule of law. These core values have to be translated also into a sport context. EPAS is the instrument to do so.

With regards to hate speech in sport, deplorable incidents have occurred in Europe including the Balkan region. Hate Speech as a human rights issue is therefore also relevant for sport and for EPAS.

Maybe the most recent example that made the headlines are the images of Holocaust victim Anne Frank wearing the jersey of a rival football club, alongside antisemitic slogans, spread by the fans of the football club Lazio Roma. The case illustrates that really anybody can become target of hate speech.

All the threats that hate speech poses to human dignity, human rights and democracy, motivated the youth representatives at the Council of Europe to initiate the No Hate Speech Movement (NHSM) in 2013.

The NHSM is a campaign of the Council of Europe to mobilise young people to combat hate speech and promote human rights on and offline.

The campaign is implemented through national campaign committees in 44 countries across Europe. They bring together national youth and human rights organisations, national authorities and others involved in anti-discrimination work.

So, I am very glad for this workshop to take place. I believe hate speech is an urgent issue and sport is an important platform through which you can do it.

I would like to thank the Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina to host this important event in Sarajevo. I thank also Deputy Minister of Justice, Mr Nezir Pivic for being with us this morning.

Please don’t take my words as being too academic or theoretic. Myself, I have been a regular visitor of number of sport events. Unfortunately, sometimes I have had to think twice if I should also bring my children to these events, since too often sport arenas became places of hatred or places where you just hear the words that you don’t want your children learn.

Being loyal to my traditions I will visit the derby Zeljo- Sarajevo this Sunday and I hope that no doubt electrified atmosphere will be only charged only with positive energy, cheering for your team and not against the other one.

You will also hear tomorrow from Zoran Avramovic about the project “Football Friends” and junior football tournament organized every year in Foca. I personally visited this year edition of the tournament in June and I was amazed to see the teams from all 6 former Yugoslav Republics playing in friendly and fair spirit in front of a very appreciative audience of Sutjeska stadium.

We are convinced that this event will contribute to the promotion of positive values in sport; that values such as team play, tolerance, respect and fair play are not empty clichés but positively impact the interaction of people and the cohesion of our societies.

I thank you for your attention.

position paper position paper
Strasbourg , 

School segregation still deprives many children of quality education

“The right to education is a fundamental human right. Yet, many European countries still deny thousands of children, including children with disabilities, Roma children and refugee or migrant children, equal access to it by keeping them in segregated schools. This is a violation of children’s human rights with far-reaching negative consequences for our societies. Member states have an obligation to secure the right of every child to quality education without discrimination”, said today the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, while releasing a paper on tackling school segregation through inclusive education.

The paper first provides an overview of school segregation in Council of Europe member states, as well as its main causes. It then reviews the risks that separate education entails and outlines the key principles that should underpin any policy to eradicate segregation and promote inclusive education. Finally, the report sets forth twelve recommendations to develop more inclusive education policies, in particular through improved anti-discrimination legislation, school desegregation strategies and better regulation of school admissions.

“School segregation harms children’s learning opportunities and is a clear injustice against minority and other vulnerable groups of people, which also perpetuates their marginalisation”, says the Commissioner. “States should adopt a combination of strong anti-discrimination measures and policies that promote more inclusive education systems where all children learn together. This is not a utopian project, but an achievable goal that can ensure more equal treatment of all children and, in the long term, improve social cohesion”, says Commissioner Muižnieks. 

Speech of Mr. Toni Pavloski, Deputy Head of Office of the CoE in Sarajevo Speech of Mr. Toni Pavloski, Deputy Head of Office of the CoE in Sarajevo
12-7-2017 , 

International Conference "Authenticity of the national minorities in BiH"

Dear Chairman of the Council of National Minorities of BiH,

Dear representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH,

Dear representatives of the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees,

Dear friends,

At the very beginning, allow me to thank Professor Knežicek for the invitation to address this eminent gathering on behalf of the office of the Council of Europe. At the same time, I welcome the initiative for the organisation of this international conference, which has set some important goals to itself. It is also significant that the issues related to BiH's national minorities are gaining visibility through this conference and become a subject of interest to the general public as well, which is important not only for the fostering of full implementation of existing laws, strategic documents and action plans, but also for the further enhancement of this framework and ultimately better human rights of members of national minorities.

The rights of members of national minorities are basically human rights, but also much more than that. Their nurturing and encouragement is vital for peace and stability in Europe. That is why the countries, members of the Council of Europe in 1990s initiated the adoption of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and establishment of a monitoring mechanism for the evaluation of its application. During the past three years, I was honored to be a part of this process in Strasbourg and to personally contribute to adoption of many resolutions of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, concerning national minorities.

The Framework Convention is based on the knowledge that the protection of national minorities is essential for stability, democratic security and peace. Its main objective is to prevent interethnic tensions and promote dialogue in open and inclusive societies. It has been pointed out many times that the Framework Convention refers to the society as a whole, not just to individuals or specific groups. Instead of asking "who" needs to be protected, the Framework Convention asks "what” is needed for the most effective management of diversity through the protection of minority rights.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has proven to be committed to protection and safeguarding of rights of national minorities. Over the past period, regulatory improvements were made, and institutionally, necessary conditions for national minorities to preserve and develop their ethnic, national, religious and cultural identity and to integrate into the social community of Bosnia and Herzegovina, were created.

Past experiences in the work and action of institutional bodies have shown the need for their significant role in decision-making as well as in strengthening their own capacities as well as the need for significant financial support from the state, which is also a recommendation of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of the Council of Europe.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a full member of the Council of Europe and the signatory of the Framework Convention since 2000, is also part of a continuous process of evaluation.

In that context, a delegation of the Advisory Committee carried out a 4th monitoring visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, last week. It visited Sarajevo, Mostar, Jajce, Stolac, Kakanj, Banja Luka, Prnjavor and Trebinje. It is expected that the Advisory Committee will adopt its Opinion, following this visit in November 2017.

Bearing in mind the above, the following remarks are based on the last ACFC Opinion adopted in March 2013 and the Committee of Minister Resolution of 12 May 2015. In spite of the passage of time many of the Advisory Committee’s observations still hold true today:

  • The Constitutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and of the Entities still distinguish between Bosniacs, Croats and Serbs, as constituent peoples, and “Others”. No progress has been made towards remedying the exclusion of persons belonging to national minorities from access to certain political posts, despite judgments of the European Court of Human Rights finding that this was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • On the side of the achievements the Advisory Committee noted the enactment of legislation for the protection of national minorities at the various levels of competence in Bosnia and Herzegovina. National minority laws are in place at State and Entity level, and the enactment of cantonal legislation for the protection of national minorities is also advancing. In addition to the national minority laws already in force at State and Entity levels, Tuzla and Sarajevo Cantons have adopted legislation with respect to national minorities. Moreover, comprehensive antidiscrimination legislation was enacted at State level in 2009 and the State-level Institution of Human Rights Ombudsman publishes its first reports on discrimination in Bosnia and Herzegovina regularly.
  • However, the implementation of the rights of national minorities is hampered by the lack of coordination of the various levels of authority concerned, many of which display little sense of responsibility for promoting the rights of persons belonging to national minorities. In addition, cutbacks made to the budget of the Institution of Human Rights Ombudsman may be disproportionately affecting its capacity to work effectively to guarantee protection against all forms of discrimination.
  • Councils of National Minorities are now operational not only at State level and in both Entities, but also in Tuzla and Sarajevo cantons. While the establishment of consultation mechanisms for national minorities at State and Entity level and in some cantons is commendable, problems in the appointments have in some cases been encountered regarding the composition of these Councils, notably due to the politicisation of appointments procedures to the State Council. These problems limit the Councils’ capacity to influence the affairs of national minorities.
  • The Advisory Committee observed that overall, little account is taken in policy-making of the needs of persons belonging to national minorities. This is largely because there is still a strong tendency amongst politicians to pit the interests of different constituent peoples against each other rather than to seek to advance the common interests of all citizens. This approach hinders efforts to build a common civic identity, runs directly counter to the spirit of promoting mutual respect, understanding and cooperation that is central to the provisions of the Framework Convention, is detrimental to all citizens.
  • For children, these negative messages are compounded through segregation in schools, which occurs both through the continued existence of “two schools under one roof” and through growing trends towards the creation of mono-ethnic schools. Although the reasons for the introduction of the former in the immediate post-war context of Bosnia and Herzegovina are well known, their maintenance in practice is in the long term indefensible and runs directly counter to the development of the spirit of tolerance, mutual understanding and co-operation that is central to the Framework Convention. The conflation of religion with ethnic affiliation and its instrumentalisation in public debates as well as in schools also serves to perpetuate divisions in Bosnian society.
  • The Advisory Committee noted the considerable work which has been done over the past years towards ensuring that Roma do not lack identity documents, and encouraging progress has been made in this field. However, Roma continue to suffer from very high unemployment rates, exclusion from access to social insurance, poor health and substandard living conditions. Roma living in informal settlements in particular face substandard living conditions and remain vulnerable to forced evictions.
  • The overwhelming focus in political spheres on the situation of the constituent peoples means that national minorities continue to be sidelined from public debates. They also suffer from low visibility in the mainstream media.
  • No efforts been made to evaluate the needs and demands of national minorities as regards the use of minority languages in contacts with the administrative authorities or as regards the display of topographical and other information signs in minority languages. The State Law moreover does not provide for municipalities to be able to choose to allow for the use of national minority languages for the above purposes unless one-third of the relevant population belongs to a national minority. While the Entity Laws are more flexible in the latter respect, there are still no cases where municipalities have taken steps to allow for the use of minority languages in contacts with them and very few where villages display topographical signs in minority languages. Support for cultural activities of national minority associations and organisations moreover remains limited and ad hoc.

All this points to one concussion: there is still a lot of work to be done, and it can be expected that the forthcoming Opinion of the Advisory Committee will not fail to reinforce the message delivered earlier.

Photo credit: OSCE BiH

Speech of Mr. Toni Pavloski, Deputy Head of Office of the CoE in Sarajevo, at the 9th Assembly of the Association of Municipalities and Cities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Speech of Mr. Toni Pavloski, Deputy Head of Office of the CoE in Sarajevo, at the 9th Assembly of the Association of Municipalities and Cities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Capljina , 

Respectful leadership of the Association,

Distinguished guests,


Let me first thank Ms. Vesna Travljanin, Director of the Association for the kind invitation to speak on behalf of the Council of Europe at the Assembly of the Association of Municipalities and Cities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Association is an important and reliable partner of the Council of Europe in the implementation of projects aimed at strengthening the capacity of local governments in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. At present, the Council of Europe, together with the Association, as well as with other partners in BiH, implements the project which aims to develop leadership capacities at the local level in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Academy for Leaders is a modern and interactive program on development of leadership, which aims to improve the quality of institutional management practices of municipalities and cities. It is a proven tool, developed by the Expert Center of the Council of Europe in 2008, which provides for a number of national and international activities for senior elected representatives and officials, such as mayors, department heads and their deputies, in order for them to develop their leadership skills and take over leadership initiatives within their local authorities.

This is not the first time that the Council of Europe assists the local authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina in terms of increasing the capacity for better management of municipalities and cities. We are building up on previous cooperation, as well as ongoing initiatives supported by other international organisations and bilateral donors.

The Council of Europe is the most experienced international organization in the field of decentralisation and local self-government. It is the only organisation of such kind in Europe which sets standards, including the only international treaties such as the European Charter on Local Self-Government and its Additional Protocol, and Committee of Ministers official recommendations to Member States on issues like local finance, local public services, citizen participation, administrative supervision etc. It has also built a substantial body of knowledge concerning best European practice via its European Committee on Democracy and Governance and has access to all European ministries in charge of local government and to associations of local authorities. Via its Centre of Expertise on Local Government Reform it has developed in-house expertise, various impact-oriented toolkits and extensive experience with supporting reforms, in particular in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe.

With Bosnia and Herzegovina’s accession to the Council of Europe in April 2002, and its ratification of the European Charter of Local Self-Government in July of the same year, the country has committed itself to respecting the principles and standards set in the field of local self-government.

During the past 15 years, the situation of local self-government in BiH has been addressed by the Parliamentary Assembly, especially in the Resolutions of 2004 and 2006. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, in its 2006 report, stressed in particular, the need for a clear constitutional guarantee of local self-government at the state of BiH level, the necessity for an amendment to the FBiH Constitution guaranteeing the power to regulate local self-government, the need for harmonisation of Cantons’ law, as well as the importance of enhanced inter-municipal co-operation (including across the boundaries, and the Entities and Cantons).

The Venice Commission also issued a number of opinions touching upon the constitutional and legal framework relating to local self-government in the State of BiH and in the two entities.

Assistance was also provided in drafting or amending local self-government related legislation. In the FBiH, support was provided in the preparation of the Law on the Principles of Local Self-Governance and in the organisation of the Conference on the implementation of the Law. The Co-ordinating Body for the Reform of Local Self-Government, established by the Ministry of Justice in 2008, was a direct outcome of these initiatives.

Bosnia and Herzegovina as full-fledged member of the Council of Europe can always draw on Council of Europe expertise according to its needs. We stand ready to provide the assistance and the expertise in the local self-government.

In particular, we are ready to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina in improving the Human Resource Management in order to equip municipalities for better delivery of services to the citizens. At the conference on ‘Human Resource Management as continuous challenge in Bosnia and Herzegovina’, that was held on 22 February in Sarajevo, we have jointly identified that many challenges in the current human resources management system in general exist. In the Federation of BiH these challenges are amplified by existing legislation and overlapping/fragmented competences;  All the participants signaled great need for training on various aspects of the HR management.

Modern HRM is indispensable for ensuring high quality of local governance. HRM regulations and mechanisms in many countries tend to be either too rigid to allow for the necessary flexibility and efficiency of public action, or too lax and inducing various forms of abuse of power, including politicisation of local public service and mismanagement of human resources. Therefore it is essential for local governments in BiH to evaluate and improve their HRM, systematizing and harmonising job descriptions, establishing and utilizing professional hiring and firing mechanisms, implementing an appraisal system which is co-ordinated with the promotion mechanism, as well methods to identify and fulfill training needs for local staff. Council of Europe has developed a toolkit to offer practical guidance for municipalities to reform their HRM according to international standards, which will be adapted to the BiH context and applied in the program. Successful and very practical projects on Human Resource Management have been implemented by the Council of Europe in Serbia, Albania, and Armenia and are being launched in Ukraine. We have the experience of delivering effective and efficient HRM training in other member states of the Council of Europe and we do expect to replicate that success also in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Thank you for your attention.


Press Release Press Release

32nd session: The Congress presents a recommendation on the local elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina

On Thursday 30 March 2017 the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe discussed a report and a recommendation on the observation of the local elections which were held in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 2 October 2016. The elections took place against a background of ethnic following the referendum held on 25 September 2016 in Republika Srpska and which concerned the national day of the entity.

According to the report presented by Stewart Dickson (United Kingdom, ILDG), voting was held – with the exception of a few violent incidents – in a calm and orderly manner overall. Improvements had been made with regard to the system of “tendered ballots” that had been reformed prior to the elections as well as to the amendment to the Election Law that provides for a 40 per cent quota of the underrepresented gender on candidates’ lists for Municipal Councils. However, the Congress regrets the lack of professionalism and the politicisation of the election administration.

Consequently, the report recommends reducing political parties’ influence, overhauling the conditions for appointing and dismissing members of electoral committees at all levels. More generally, the transparency and the integrity of the electoral process needs be reinforced by implementing existing legislation on fraud and infringements of election rules and the misuse of administrative resources. Moreover, the report also draws attention to the situation in the city of Mostar where no local elections could be held on 2 October 2016. The Congress reaffirms the need to find an appropriate and lasting solution to the current deadlock affecting local democracy in Mostar.

Congress of Local and Regional Authorities
Planning, Coordination and institutional Communication Unit
Tel: +33 (0)3 90 21 48 95 - Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 27 51
www.coe.int/congress - [email protected]

The Congress has two chambers, the Chamber of Local Authorities and the Chamber of Regions. It brings together 324 full and 324 substitute members representing more than 200 000 European territorial communities.
President of the Congress: Gudrun Mosler-Törnström (Austria, SOC), President of the Chamber of Local Authorities: Anders Knape (Sweden, EPP/CCE), President of the Chamber of Regions: Gunn Marit Helgesen (Norway, EPP-CCE)
Political Groups: Socialist Group (SOC), Group of the European People’s Party (EPP/CCE), Independent and Liberal Democrat Group (ILDG), European Conservatives & Reformists Group (ECR)

Speech of the Deputy Head of Office of the Council of Europe in Sarajevo, Toni Pavloski, on the occasion of the presentation of results of the project: Education for Peace, of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Republika Srpska Speech of the Deputy Head of Office of the Council of Europe in Sarajevo, Toni Pavloski, on the occasion of the presentation of results of the project: Education for Peace, of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Republika Srpska
Bijeljina , 

Dear friends,

Allow me to begin by thanking the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Republika Srpska for the kind invitation to address you at the occasion of the presentation of results of the project: "Education for Peace". Council of Europe is not directly involved in this project, however, as the project’s objectives coincide largely with the objectives of the Council of Europe in the field of education, we are interested to support and encourage your very useful work and contribution towards the building of peace, tolerance and inter-ethnic understanding in BiH.

Let me say a few words about our and your organisation in which Bosnia and Herzegovina is a member since 2002.

The main mission of the Council of Europe is the promotion and preservation of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. At the heart of our organisation is the European Convention on Human Rights which protects 820 million people and has facilitated a single, common, legal space, in which 47 governments seek to abide by the same standards. In the European Court of Human Rights, we have a court to which any individual can bring a complaint. It is a right to individual petition which does not exist anywhere else in the world. And, in our Committee of Ministers, we have a place where representatives from all of our nations meet each other to talk and find solutions, whatever the difficulties of the day.

And difficulties are not in short supply.

The economic crisis, the refugee crisis, the growth of home-grown terror, the persistence of human rights abuses on our continent, all have brought into question Europe’s democratic ideals. We witness the rise of populism, nationalism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia. If we want to preserve our democratic ideals, to safeguard the openness and tolerance on which modern Europe is built, we need to be just as unapologetic in promoting our values too.

The first place where we defend our values is in our schools. In Europe today most states have some form of civic education.

But we still do not, as standard practice, teach our children what it means – explicitly – to be a democratic citizen.

How to live with others, as equals, in mixed societies. We need to create “safe spaces” in classrooms where controversial issues can be calmly and responsibly discussed.

We need to create conditions to reconcile freedom of expression with countering hate speech. Students around Europe learn about democratic processes, such as voting but need also to learn about democratic culture, the mind-sets and attitudes.

To this end, 50 European Ministers of Education, including of Bosnia and Herzegovina, met last spring to set the priorities to empower our educators to meet these challenges; to ensure that all members of our societies grow up with the skills needed to sustain democracy. These goals are confirmed by the Conference of Ministers of Education of the European Cultural Convention, which was held yesterday and the day before yesterday in Nicosia, in the framework of the Cyprus chairmanship in the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

At the heart of this agenda, is our flagship Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture.

What are the Competences? Sometimes we arrive at better definition by telling what they are not about.

Competences for Democratic Culture are not developed for Bosnia and Herzegovina or for any specific country. They can be adapted and used in any given country.

This is not some kind of new political curriculum.

It isn’t ideological.

It is not an attempt to rewrite history, or define religion.

This is about setting out, for the first time ever, the specific competences needed by young citizens across all of our democracies.

How to live in society where not everyone thinks like you but where we all have a responsibility to uphold the democratic principles by which our different belief systems co-exist.

The Competences promote values ​​such as the value of justice, for example, fairness and the rule of law; value of human dignity and human rights.

Attitudes: such as respecting the right of others to hold their own opinions;

Skills: empathy, listening, resolving conflicts; skills for cooperation and analytical and critical thinking.

And, perhaps of widest benefit, the ability to approach the issues such as history, or politics from the critical point of view: the ability to separate facts from opinion, and then debate those views.

They are designed precisely so that they can be adapted to suit differing national and local realities.

They are now tested Europe wide, in France, Romania and elsewhere.

As we look across our societies today, it should be obvious that, in the long-term, education policies and practices will be more decisive for tolerance and stability than any counter-terror measure, any asylum reform, any law.

Stability rests on democracy; Democracy relies on education.

And education depends on all of us.

We need to have confidence in teaching our shared values to the next generation.

We need to use education and training to promote the inclusion of all the members of our societies. This is a long term work to which we at the Council of Europe are fully committed and ready to assist Bosnia Herzegovina authorities and to work with all stakeholders.

Thank you for your attention.

the speech of mr toni pavloski, deputy head of office of the council of europe in bih, on the occasion of the international day of rememberance of the victims of the holocaust the speech of mr toni pavloski, deputy head of office of the council of europe in bih, on the occasion of the international day of rememberance of the victims of the holocaust

Dear Mr. President of the Jewish community, Your Excellences, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

allow me, first of all, to thank Mr. Finci and the Jewish Community for the honor they gave me to address this eminent gathering on the occasion of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust. The organisation I represent, the Council of Europe, in which Bosnia and Herzegovina is a full fledge member since 2002, organises commemorative events every year by which it marks the day when 72 years ago, the Soviet troops liberated the camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. This year, from our headquarters in Strasbourg, a strong message on the importance of this day, was sent by the solemn commemoration and this event was granted even a greater dimension by the presence of the President of Cyprus and the President of Romania. This year,  similar events, supported by the Council of Europe, will be also held in Kiev, Venice, Tirana, Chisinau and here in multicultural Sarajevo. By music, theater and songs, in different corners of Europe, a respect will be paid to all those who were killed in the Holocaust.

Today we remember the 12,000 Bosnia and Herzegovina Jews killed, of which 9500 citizens of Sarajevo. We remember the notabele individuals such as the renowned Professor Dr. Calmy Baruch, who died in 1945 in the camp Bergen Belsen; artist Daniel Ozmo who died in  1942 in Jasenovac; Dr. Marcel Schneider, who was deported to the camp Gospic. We also remember them, small and important people, Jews, Roma, members of resistance, politicians, Jehovah's Witnesses, and many other righteous.
We remember the victims and all those who stood in defense of human dignity and life, the Righteous Among Nations, such as Mustafa, Zaynab, Izet and Bahri Hardaga from Sarajevo, Francis and Lydia Griner from Mostar, Ratomir Deletis from Tuzla, Ljubo Blagojevic and Bogoljub Stevanovic from Zvornik and many others unknown. They said NO, showing that there is a choice, that each of us carries a responsibility, be it political leaders, citizens or simply human beings.

And it is not by accident that the Council of Europe actively promotes the remembrance of the Holocaust victims, not just once a year, but all year round by the activities such as educational programs. The Council of Europe was founded on the basis of the tragic lessons of injustice committed in the twentieth century. The leaders of Europe founded institutions which outlawed the war as a political tool. Cooperation, transparency and integration promoted by the Council of Europe are unique means for ensuring and promoting human rights, the rule of law and democracy. The European Convention of Human Rights is a powerful tool in that direction.

The Holocaust, which is today’s paradigm for any form of large-scale human rights violations and crimes against humanity, obliges us to critically look into the past, to remember, draw lessons and transfer to the next generation not only the memory of the Holocaust, but also the realisation that intolerance, hatred and extremism lead to irreversible vortex of war and the meaningless loss of lives. Life should be lived in this moment; together we can influence and shape our future, but that is impossible if you do not look in the past.

The realisation that we, as the human civilization, cannot draw lessons from the war, is devastating. As Mr. Finci said, we said so many times that we will never again allow for genocide to happen, but it happened, including the one in Srebrenica.

This points to a fundamental need to integrate into the education process a series of educational measures with a purpose of preventing repetition of the terrible events of the twentieth century. This means that we need to help our children to learn and remember facts - and their causes - from the darkest pages of European history. We need to ensure the implementation of the Declaration of Ministers of Education of the Council of Europe, which derives from the institutional framework of the European Cultural Convention as well as the implementation of Recommendations of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on teaching the history in the twenty-first century. Through these and other measures required in the education, strengthening of trust and tolerance within and between countries will certainly happen.  

Why is it necessary to act in this direction is obvious. Hate speech, intolerance, extremism, anti-Semitism and the negation of the Holocaust, have reached a worrying level. All together, we need to actively promote tolerance, openness, acceptance and respect for others and different. We also send this message today from this city known as a city of exceptional cultural and religious diversity, where there is a unique sense of harmony and coexistence.

Finally, allow me to also send my personal message.

I belong to the generation that grew up in peace, believing that the terrible wars of the twentieth century will not be repeated. And yet they repeated. I have never experienced war, but believe me, where I was in those moments, in my hometown of Skopje, I followed with the horrible pain everything that was happening in your country. My world collapsed the day the mortar shell hit Markale. I cried, not only for the innocent victims, but also because the ideal of one generation that the war will not happen again, was gone forever.

And from this stage, as one of that generation that has not too much time left to dream, but that has every right to hope, for its children, I send an appeal for peace. I am appealing that the Shoam never happens again. To send a message to the world that we will work together that this never happens again. We may not have find the right path, but our children have the right to find their own, in peace and prosperity. Let us not forget 12,000 of your compatriots Jews, my 7200 from Stip, Bitola and Skopje and many others who died in the death camps. Because the fate of the Jews is universal, it is our fate.

Sarajevo, 27 January 2017

press release press release
Strasbourg , 

Bosnia and Herzegovina: GRECO calls for efficient coordination and firm steps to implement anticorruption reform

The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) has published today its Fourth Round Evaluation Report on Bosnia and Herzegovina. It focuses on the prevention of corruption amongst members of parliament, judges and prosecutors.

Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland said: “Some positive steps have been taken by Bosnia and Herzegovina but shortcomings remain. The government must now show strong political will needed to tackle them and implement the recommendations of GRECO. This is also indispensable for our member state Bosnia and Herzegovina’s aspiration to further European integration”.

GRECO is very critical about the delays experienced in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s anticorruption agenda, largely due to the fragmented and uncoordinated institutional framework of the country and, more decisively, the lack of a firm political will to push forward far-reaching reform.

In Parliament, positive steps have been taken to enhance openness and public awareness of parliamentary work and to promote integrity in the legislature. Parliamentarians have a Code of Conduct as well as strict rules on incompatibilities. However, the corresponding monitoring and enforcement system must be strengthened. It is unclear how misconduct could trigger punishment at present and the existing bodies overseeing conflicts of interest have crucial flaws regarding their effectiveness; they either lack the required powers or independence to ensure abidance by the rules. Furthermore, MP’s asset disclosure regime is deficient as regards its transparency and the actual control of the declarations submitted.

The complexity of the four judicial systems, threats to judicial independence, the lack of certainty about available resources, as well as a large judicial backlog and poor case management are fuelling a very negative public perception of judges and prosecutors. Placing the concept of judicial independence beyond doubt, ensuring a better prioritisation of cases and a more efficient use of available resources across the judicial systems are necessary to put the judiciary in a better position to restore public trust. The High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council’s operation has to be strengthened, as it has a key role in this process.

Steps must also be taken to improve the professionalism, integrity and accountability of judges and prosecutors, notably as regards performance appraisals, which are the determining factor for promotion, rules on conflicts of interest and awareness of ethics and integrity. Annual financial statements are submitted by judges and prosecutors, but are not controlled nor published. An effective review system has to be introduced, along with the necessary resources and sanctions in case of non-compliance. The Office of the Disciplinary Council must be strengthened and the disciplinary procedure and sanctions revised to ensure that judges and prosecutors are held accountable for misconduct. Finally, these moves towards an increased efficiency and accountability of the judicial system need to be communicated to the public as part of a concerted communication strategy.

The implementation of the 15 recommendations addressed to Bosnia and Herzegovina will be assessed by GRECO in the second half of 2017 through its compliance procedure.


The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) is a Council of Europe body that aims to improve the capacity of its members to fight corruption by monitoring their compliance with anti-corruption standards. It helps states to identify deficiencies in national anti-corruption policies, prompting the necessary legislative, institutional and practical reforms. Currently it comprises the 47 Council of Europe member states, Belarus and the United States of America.

statement of the secretary general statement of the secretary general
Strasbourg , 

Statement by Secretary General Jagland on the situation in Republika Srpska

“I am very concerned by the recent developments in Republika Srpska in particular the decision of the RS government to stop cooperation with certain state level law enforcement and judicial authorities and the announced referendum on the State judiciary.

 These actions undermine the Dayton Agreement and present a risk for the future of the country.

 I therefore call on the authorities of Republika Srpska to engage in dialogue with all relevant parties.”

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