March 4. 2024. 6:47

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EU condemns ‘discriminatory’ moves by Bosnian Serb leader

The European Union on Monday (27 March) condemned a series of recent moves by Bosnian Serb authorities to ban LGBTQ groups and limit media freedoms, saying they would “seriously shrink civic space”.

Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik has recently launched several controversial initiatives including to criminalise defamation and draw up a law targeting NGOs, which he has called “foreign agents”.

Dodik, president of the Bosnian Serb entity of Republika Srpska (RS), has also said he plans to ban LGBTQ groups from entering schools and universities.

Critics say the laws are aimed at silencing any critical voice in the RS.

The moves have faced heavy criticism from opposition parties, press associations, NGOs and several Western embassies, including the US.

On Monday, the EU mission in Bosnia also issued a statement saying the moves “seriously shrink civic space, harm the interests of RS and the country (and) reject fundamental European values”.

Bosnia was granted EU membership candidate status in December.

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The EU called on Bosnian Serb authorities to withdraw the proposed legislation and “discriminatory initiatives”.

Last week, Bosnian Serb lawmakers adopted draft amendments to the criminal code that would criminalise defamation and insult.

#BiH: IPI is dismayed by decision of MPs in Republika Srpska National Assembly to approve draft amendments to the criminal code which would re-criminalise defamation & insult. If ultimately passed, it would mark a major step backwards for #pressfreedom