Religion In Bosnia And Herzegovina
The State Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and the entity Constitutions of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska provide for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respects this right in ethnically integrated areas or in areas where government officials are of the majority religion; the state-level Law on Religious Freedom also provides comprehensive rights to religious communities. However, local authorities sometimes restricted the right to worship of adherents of religious groups in areas where such persons are in the minority.
Government protection of religious freedom declined, especially during the campaign period prior to the October 2006 national elections, due to selective legal enforcement and the indifference of some government officials. At the end of the period covered by this report, the Government was implementing the State Law on Religious Freedom to protect the rights of religious communities and create a government registry allowing them to establish legal status.
Societal abuses and discrimination based on religious belief and practice persisted. Religious intolerance directly reflected ethnic intolerance because of the virtually indistinguishable identification of ethnicity with religious background. Discrimination against religious minorities occurred in nearly all parts of the country. In some communities local religious leaders and politicians contributed to intolerance and an increase in nationalism through public statements and sermons. A number of illegally constructed religious objects continued to cause ethnic/religious tension and conflict in various communities. Religious symbols were often misused for political purposes.
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