Charges of rights violations in Bosnia and Herzegovina prison unfounded - UN mission

Charges of rights violations in Bosnia and Herzegovina prison unfounded - UN mission

The United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have found no evidence to support allegations that any Croat prisoners in the country have been forced to convert to Islam.

Following a thorough investigation of alleged human rights violations in Zenica prison, the Mission and the OSCE issued a joint statement today suggesting that prison inspectors of the Bosnian Federation Ministry of Justice should also conduct their own probe and issue their own report.

According to the statement, an inmate who had allegedly been forced to convert to Islam told an UNMIBH prison monitoring team and the OSCE that his conversion was a personal decision and that he had not been pressured.

"UNMIBH and the OSCE stress that any allegations of human rights violations in prisons must be investigated impartially and in accordance with international standards," the statement said. "It is deeply regrettable that certain political figures have attempted to politicize the situation of one inmate who has voluntarily converted to another religion in accordance with the basic human right of freedom of religion."