Zeljko Komsic, the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, addressed the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, railing against the impact of larger countries’ allegedly selective and exploitative immigration policies, a government defined by ethnic divisions, and the intentional undermining of his nation’s stability by its “western and eastern neighbours.”
Mr. Komsic criticised the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, claiming it placed too large an emphasis on migrants as the main beneficiary of SDGs and failed to adequately address the broader impacts of immigration. He accused larger countries of intentionally “taking over” smaller countries by targeting educated, highly trained immigrants who will benefit their economies. The rapid pace of immigration from Bosnia and Herzegovina to larger countries, meanwhile, has left the nation’s institutions weaker, he argued.
“The current form of migration management has reached such a stage where large and powerful countries, for their own benefit, carry out a certain type of selection of migrants, in such a way as to select the best and most educated among them, such as doctors, engineers, scientists, and other highly qualified persons, and are ushering them to larger countries where their knowledge and abilities are exploited, exclusively for the benefit of these larger systems,” said Mr. Komsic.
“At the same time, the potentials and capacities of the smaller countries from which the migrants are coming from are weakened. Small countries, in addition to losing the best quality personnel, are also losing all the investments made in creating these highly qualified profiles.”
He labelled the actions of larger countries a “direct attack” on the ability of small countries to establish their own sustainable development programmes, creating an environment “in which poverty develops and completely prevents any form of development in economic and social sense.”
Mr. Komsic also drew attention to what he referred to as Bosnia and Herzegovina’s “ethnocracy,” arguing the government’s prioritization of ethnic representation in government was reminiscent of totalitarianism.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina does not entail complete democracy, but rather a form of ethnocracy. Such a system, which guarantees participation in government to certain political actors and their ethnically based political parties, has the form of former and current totalitarian systems,” he said.
“This means that we in Bosnia and Herzegovina will have to change the entire paradigm within society, and shift from ethnic political representation to civic political representation, which is the standard in a democratic world,” he explained.
Mr. Komsic also accused its “western and eastern neighbours” of stoking ethnic tensions in Bosnia and Herzegovina in an attempt to divide the nation and reduce its ability to operate as a cohesive political unit.
“Through ethnic communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to which they claim national rights, they are running Bosnia and Herzegovina, not with the primary aim of helping the members of these ethnic communities, but with the aim of dividing Bosnia and Herzegovina or making it meaningless as a state,” he claimed.
Mr. Komsic claimed the attacks on institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina severely impact the sustainable development of Bosnia and Herzegovina and threaten broader regional stability.
“That is why we believe that it is in the interest of the United Nations, if peace is to be preserved in the Western Balkans, to support the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
Fulls statement available here.