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Balkans: bishops of Austria and Bosnia-Herzegovina, joint declaration. “Relative peace in Sarajevo”

“Bosnia-Herzegovina has not been living in permanent peace, yet, because of tensions and lack of trust are endangering peaceful life in common”, said Austrian bishops and their brothers from this Balkan country in their joint declaration, signed by the members of the two Bishops’ Conferences at the end of the plenary of Austrian bishops, taking place from 5 to 8 March in Sarajevo. The appeal of bishops to the politicians of Bosnia-Herzegovina and to the international community is “to promote respect of human rights and freedoms for all the members of society, treating the three peoples living in this land in the same way”. Moreover, Austrian bishops support European integration of Sarajevo. The document says that “after meeting political authorities and heads of religious communities, Austrian bishops commit themselves to solidarity with this Balkan country, and to testifying the dramatic situations in which Catholics find themselves in many areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina”. Austrian bishops say that holding their plenary in Sarajevo was a sign of “unity for the Bosnian and the Austrian Churches, connected by their history in common and by several contacts in the course of time”. According to Bosnian bishops, “the presence of Austrian brothers “means solidarity with the people in need who are still suffering from the consequences of war; it is also a sign for youth who’ve been leaving the country for many years, going to Western Europe or Austria, too”.

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