On March 15, 2016, representatives of the Association for Democratic Initiative (ADI) participated at the conference “We also have the right to choose”. The conference was held in Sarajevo at the Hotel Bristol, and was organized by the Social Inclusion Foundation in BiH (FSU in BiH ) and the Initiative for Better and Humane Inclusion (IBHI), in cooperation with the OSCE Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This conference was part of an advocacy campaign “The adoption of amendments to the BiH Election Law in the field of electoral rights of national minorities” by the FSU in BiH and IBHI as a part of the Project of Sustainability of civil society in BiH (CSSP).
In the introductory part of the conference Predrag Jović, the Deputy Minister for Human Rights and Refugees in BiH, said that the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the first time this year, has earmarked in the budget the financial assistance to improve the situation of national minorities in regards to their right to be the ones to decide on who will represent them.
The discussion during the conference revolved around the following issues. The President of the Council of National Minorities, Tihomir Knežiček, said that the Council is trying to determine the criteria that would define what it means to be a member of a national minority. Also, the head of the OSCE Mission to BiH, Jonathan Moore, said that the Dayton framework by itself does not meet the democratic standards embarked by the European Union. As an example, he stated that in a number of municipalities (in both entities) in the composition of their legislative bodies they do not have any place for minorities, regardless of the fact that a large number of minorities live in these areas. Monitor for Roma issues at the OSCE Mission to BiH, Dervo Sejdic, said that no one is against the implementation of the judgment, but that he does not see any specific improvement when it comes to the implementation of the judgment; his proposition is to also have one president for the representative of minorities along with one Bosniak, one Serb and one Croat representatives. Jakob Finci, president of the Jewish Community in BiH, stressed that members of national minorities are not involved in the amendment of the electoral law of Bosnia and Herzegovina and that the transparency of the working group is questionable.