OSCE Mission to BiH head stresses need to work together to end misery and pain caused by trafficking
SARAJEVO, 23 January 2013 – Fletcher M. Burton, Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, speaking at conference on human trafficking, welcomed efforts to improve BiH’s response to combat this crime by improving criminal legislation at all four levels.
“BiH has made progress towards improving criminal legislation related to trafficking. Only by working together we can put an end to this horrible trade in human misery and the unimaginable pain that trafficking in human beings causes,” he said, noting that combating human trafficking is a major priority of Ukraine’s 2013 OSCE Chairmanship.
“The need to improve legislation and harmonize State, Entity and Brcko District Criminal Codes has been repeatedly highlighted in reports by the OSCE Mission, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the Council of Europe, the US State Department and the EU,” added Burton, emphasizing the responsibility of the members of the Human Rights Committees and parliamentarians to improve relevant legislation.
He commended the Working Group composed of representatives of all four BiH’s jurisdictions for their efforts, pointing out that the Republika Srpska Justice Ministry had progressed even further by including these provisions in their latest amendments to the RS Criminal Code.
The BiH Joint Committee for Human Rights, Child Rights, Youth, Immigration, Refugees, Asylum and Ethics of the BiH Parliamentary Assembly, under leadership of Aleksandra Pandurevic, has also adopted a conclusion that the amendments to the Criminal Code of BiH should enter parliamentary procedure.
“I hope that the Federation of BiH and Brcko District will soon follow this lead,” said Burton. “Our goal is the same – to enable the criminal justice system to deal with internal trafficking as a serious crime that merits the same effort in terms of prevention, detection and prosecution as international trafficking.”
The event was co-organised by the Mission and the State Co-ordinator for Combating trafficking in human beings.
Since 2003, the OSCE Mission to BiH has made combating of trafficking in human beings a priority, and has monitored trials and social protection procedures for cases involving trafficking. The Mission has worked closely with BiH authorities in establishing the National Referral Mechanism for Victims as well as with practitioners and lawmakers to ensure that laws and bylaws relating to trafficking are compliant with international standards.