Mr. President,


I would like to thank the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Christian Schmidt, for his presentation and report. We support his efforts to implement the civilian aspects of the Dayton Accords. We regret that recent months have not seen more tangible progress in implementing the 5+2 Agenda. This remains the agreed condition for the closure of the Office of the High Representative. 


I would also like to extend a welcome the Chairman of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Collegial Presidency and the representatives of the European Union, Serbia and Croatia. 


Almost thirty years have passed since the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords, which laid the foundations for peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and established a commitment to a sovereign state with territorial integrity. Switzerland remains firmly committed to these principles. 


I would like to emphasize three points:


Firstly, it is essential that the influential leaders of all entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina formulate common interests for their country and its future. People, especially young people, need prospects for themselves and their families. The European Council's recent decision to open accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina offers an important opportunity to accelerate progress towards reform. 


Switzerland calls on all political actors to engage constructively in genuine dialogue in order to preserve the country's unity and political stability. This will also contribute to addressing the brain drain and labor migration. 


Secondly, confidence in the functioning of Bosnia and Herzegovina's central institutions, respect for its constitutional and legal order, and the protection of fundamental freedoms are the foundations of a democratic, peaceful and stable society. Republika Srpska's recent measures to transfer competences from the state to the entity level, and to create a parallel electoral system, contravene these principles. Switzerland welcomes and is actively involved in initiatives supported by the UN Peacebuilding Fund, which among other things on community dialogue and confidence-building in institutions.


As Bosnia and Herzegovina prepares for municipal elections, Switzerland stresses the importance of implementing the necessary reforms to ensure the integrity, transparency and fairness of the electoral process. We also reiterate the need for greater representation of women in the political arena. 


Switzerland also opposes any attempt to restrict civic space or undermine human rights, in particular freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of the media. All legislation must comply with the international and national standards to which Bosnia and Herzegovina is bound. Civil society, journalists and human rights defenders must be able to exercise their activities freely and without intimidation. 


Thirdly, all parties must redouble their efforts to promote peaceful coexistence and reconciliation. We are deeply troubled by the prevalence of divisive rhetoric, hate speech and threats of secession. Our common European history teaches us to assume a specific responsibility in this respect:


A responsibility to combat historical revisionism, the glorification of war criminals and the denial of genocide. Dealing with the past, respecting international and local judicial decisions and ensuring accountability are necessary to prevent violence and build lasting peace. 


Mr. President,


Switzerland reaffirms its commitment to supporting Bosnia and Herzegovina on the road to peace, stability and prosperity, and to building a united future for the younger generation.


Thank you.

Download the statement

Size / Type