Regional Human Rights Declaration

— 10.12.2015.

Below is the Regional Declaration of Human Rights which was addressed to governments from the region by youth of the Western Balkans on the occasion of the Human Rights Day.


We, the youth of the Western Balkans,

United in our intention to contribute to building societies based on respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Demand the fulfillment of our right to freedom of movement across the Western Balkans region and Europe, so that we meet our peers and exchange experiences with them, thus establish strong ties for professional, educational and social cooperation.

Cherish and promote mutually respectful and inclusive, as well as critical approach to human rights issues arising from our common violent past, only possible through regional and cross-border cooperation

Stress that the only and most efficient way to guarantee non-recurrence of violence is through open and free cooperation of governments and societies alike.

Affirm the importance of regional cooperation and communication between our institutions, point out the problems to be resolved so we can get to know each other, understand each other better and build societies we want to live in: free, democratic, open and prosperous.

Hence, on Human Rights Day, we demand:

1. Everyone to have freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
2. Everyone to have the right to education in his/her mother tongue as well as right to inclusive education.
3. Everyone to have the right to recognition of academic diplomas issued by any educational institution in the region; this right is to be conditioned only by professional standardization, free of ideological and political influence.
4. Everyone to have freedom of thought and expression, the right not to be disquieted on the account of his/her opinion, as well as the right to seek, receive and impart ideas and information by any peaceful and democratic means, regardless of national borders.
5. Everyone to have freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Everyone to have the right to leave any country, including his/her own and to return to his/her country.
6. Every person of legal age to have the right to marry and establish a family, without any limitation due to race, nationality, sexual orientation and/or religion. Every person should be entitled to equal rights while entering into and during marriage.
7. Everyone to have freedom of conscience.
8. Everyone to have the right to seek and enjoy asylum from persecution in other countries.
9. Everyone to have the right to communicate and exchange information freely. For the purpose of restoring communication among the citizens in the region, we consider necessary to establish cooperation among mobile operators in all Western Balkans’ countries.
10. Everyone to have the right of free trade of goods and service, regardless of national borders.
11. Everyone to have the right to enjoy culture and cultural production as well as to take part in the cultural life, regardless of national borders or ethnic, religious and national differences.

We also strongly believe that we cannot build a prosperous common future if we do not respond properly to the mass and systematic human rights violations committed in the recent past. Such response is the conditio sine qua non of any society built on the principles of justice and rule of law. Thus, on this occasion we remember those citizens of our countries whose basic human rights have been violated in recent conflicts in the former Yugoslavia.

We urge the governments in the region to:

1. Strengthen cooperation and exchange information paramount to locating and identifying persons still counted as missing in the recent violent conflicts.
2. Strengthen judicial and security cooperation and exchange of evidence in prosecuting those responsible for grave human rights violations and violations of the international humanitarian law.
3. Promote an approach to memory and history based on the established facts, rights and perspectives of victims, and castigate nationalist and other extremist ideologies, which critically contributed to the occurrence of violence.
4. Support fact-finding processes, such as establishment of RECOM- Regional Commission for Establishing Facts about the victims of war crimes and serious human rights violations committed in the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia.
5. Invest in symbolic, instrumental, educational and political measures, which strengthen and drive the reconciliation process, thus securing non-recurrence of violence for future generations and us.

We stand firm in our belief that only through these restorative and retributive measures, we can live in an environment of sustainable peace and stability in the region of Western Balkans.

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