Sierra Leone Statement at the UN Security Council on the briefing on Bosnia and Herzegovina


Mr. President,

I thank you for convening this debate.

We thank Mr. Christian Schmidt, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina for his comprehensive briefing. 

We welcome the participation of His Excellency Mr. Denis Bećirović, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Representative of Serbia and the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations in this meeting.

Sierra Leone uses this opportunity to commend the High Representative and Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the remarkable achievement in the opening of European Union accession negotiations. We believe that deepening regional and economic integration will provide the necessary impetus for lasting peace, undertaking governance and economic reforms for sustained socio-economic development, heralding the new dawn to which the Dayton Accords aspire.  

Sierra Leone recalls that peace, security, stability, political inclusion, strong governance institutions, infrastructural and economic development and all the tenets of the Dayton Accords are designed to herald this new dawn. A united and inclusive Bosnia and Herzegovina reflective of the aspirations of all its people. 

Sierra Leone is therefore deeply concerned by inciteful rhetoric, disruptive actions, and efforts to derail, undermine, and unravel the progress made so far in the achievement of lasting peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We urge all parties to refrain from divisive rhetoric, which has notably increased tensions, and threatens the lives and livelihoods of the multi-ethnic people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the proper functioning of State institutions.

Sierra Leone also deplores the threats or attacks to the person and office of the High Representative. We emphasize the importance of preserving the sanctity of the lives of officers of the United Nations, and its ancillary and associated bodies. We urge the High Representative to continue to dispense his functions with integrity and in a manner that is inclusive and credible, for successful implementation of the outstanding 5+2 Agenda, to support the country’s transition from international oversight.  

Furthermore, Sierra Leone is deeply concerned with actions which erode the established facts, decisions, and legacy of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Drawing from our own experience with a prolonged civil conflict, the successful transitional justice process and mechanisms, inclusive of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, played an important role in restoring peace and justice as we rebuilt our society. 

We strongly believe that upholding the rule of law, and not relying on individual political sentiments or interests, guarantees a just, peaceful, and secure State. Sierra Leone affirms the legitimacy of the ICTY’s contributions to the development and application of international law, its role in providing access to justice for the victims of grave violations of international law, ensuring accountability for those bearing responsibility for the atrocities committed in the Balkans in 1990s, and its residual mechanism for preventing impunity.

Mr. President,

Sierra Leone notes with concern the increasing tensions and rhetoric that may seems to dismiss the multi-cultural characteristics of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and thus impair its vision for a united, diverse, and progressive State. We call on the key stakeholders to refrain from taking steps which would create parallel governance structures, and to rather collaborate and support proactive actions towards the safe return, healing, and reconciliation of all peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the achievement of a common reform agenda that prioritizes human capital development. 

We urge for equal, safe, and active participation of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s diverse people, particularly of the women and young people, in the upcoming elections and all political processes, ensuring their representation at all levels in the governance system. We especially urge for accelerated progress on the administration of Brčko District and the establishment and operationalisation of institutions necessary for its functionality.  

Sierra Leone re-echoes its call for the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina to embrace institutional and legal reforms necessary not only to meet European Union related legislative requirements, but also to strengthen its governance and service delivery mechanisms for sustained development, and creating a reliable macroeconomic environment that positions the State for its prosperous future.  

In closing, Mr. President, Sierra Leone acknowledges the role of regional security apparatus and international financial institutions in supporting governance and security reforms in the country. We commend the interventions of the Peacebuilding Fund for Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Peacebuilding Steering Committee and continue to entreat their efforts to sustain peacebuilding initiatives in the country. 

I thank you.

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