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Statement of Shared Moral Commitment

 

Concerned at the visibly slow and inefficient implementation of the Dayton Accords as they pertain to civil society, and deeply disturbed by recent unpleasant events in the Zone of Separation, the Reis ul-Ulema of the Islamic Community of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the responsible representatives of the two Christian Churches (Serbian Orthodox and Roman Catholic) and the President of the Jewish Community of Bosnia-Herzegovina have decided to issue the following statement.

1. The peoples of Bosnia-Herzegovina have undergone enormous suffering. But, thanks be to God, the war has ended. Our task now is to establish a durable peace based on truth, justice and common living.

2. We, the Reis ul-Ulema of the Islamic Community of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the responsible representatives of the two Christian Churches (Serbian Orthodox and Roman Catholic) and the President of the Jewish Community of Bosnia-Herzegovina, recognize that our churches and religious communities differ from each other, an that each of them feels called to live true to its own nature. At the same time, we recognise that our religious and spiritual traditions hold many values in common, and that these shared values can provide an authentic basis for mutual esteem, cooperation and free common living in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

3. Each of our traditional churches and religious communities recognizes that the dignity of man and human value are gifts of God. Our faiths and religions, each in their own way, call us to recognise the fundamental human rights of each person. Violence against persons or the violation of their basic rights is, for us, not only against man-made laws but also an infraction of God's law.

4. We jointly, in mutual recognition of our religious differences, condemn all violence against innocent persons and any form of abuse or violation of fundamental human rights.

Specifically, we condemn:

- acts of hatred based on ethnicity or religious difference: we express our especial concern at the burning of houses, the desecration of religious buildings, and the destruction of graveyards;

- obstruction of the free right of return;

- acts of revenge;

- abuse of the media with the aim of spreading hatred.

5. Further we call for respect of the fundamental human rights of all persons, regardless of religious or ethnic affiliation, which must include:

- freedom for all responsible representatives or religious leaders of churches or religious communities in Bosnia-Herzegovina to fulfil their mission in every part of the country;

- opportunities for the free performance of religious services and all forms of pastoral care by all imams of the Islamic Community, all Christian priests (Serbian Orthodox and Roman Catholic) and all representatives of the Jewish Community;

6. Finally, we call on all people of good will to take responsibility for their own acts. Let us treat others as we would wish them to treat us.

7. With this statement, we appeal to believers of our churches and religious communities, to all citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and to

- Mr Alija Izetbegovic, chairman of the Presidency of B-H;

- Mr Momcilo Krajisnik, member of the Presidency of B-H;

- Mr Kresimir Zubak, member of the Presidency of B-H.

 

Dr Mustafa Ceric, Reis ul-Ulema

Mr Jakob Finci, President of the Jewish Community of B-H.

Metropolit Dabrobosanski Nikolaj, in the name of and with the authorization of His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle.

Cardinal Vinko Puljic, Archbishop of Sarajevo and President of the Bishops' Conference.

July 7, 1997

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