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Z. Budimir: Address to World Summit 2013


Prepared text

H.E. Zivko Budimir, President of the Federation of Bosnia and HerzegovinaTo begin with, I feel the need to say that I was an active participant in the war in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and already during the war I contributed significantly to the establishment of peace and trust. Knowing the horrors of war, today as a politician I act in a way so that those horrors of war would not happen again, neither to us nor to others

Since the time of ancient Greece and the famous ancient Greek philosophers to this day, people have been reflecting on or trying to decipher what is freedom, peace, democracy and how it might be possible to provide them to mankind. From Socrates to the Renaissance philosophers and advocates for peace and human identity, peace has been defined as a basic human right.

Among my Croatian people, there is a well-known writer and politician, Ivan Gundulic, who lived from 1589 to 1683 in Dubrovnik, a libertarian city-republic which has enjoyed a long independence throughout history and which had only one word written on its flag, and that is Libertas, which means freedom. Ivan Gundulic wrote a "Hymn to Freedom," in which the following verses are repeated several times in order to validate in the simplest way the innate need of every human being to be free: "Oh beautiful, oh dear, oh sweet freedom."

In more recent history, we find that the Declaration of Independence of the USA represents a beginning of the road and the biggest step toward achieving this ideal. This breakthrough is embodied in an exalted proposition: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." However, even the country which has incorporated into its foundations this lofty declaration took nearly 200 years to implement it for all of its citizens.

In the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948, and which was created as a result of horrific crimes and human rights violations during World War II, the first paragraph reminds humanity that "recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world."

Today, in the modern era, in spite of God's laws, numerous declarations, legal documents, and a historically unprecedented high level of knowledge by everyone on the planet, there are a certain number of countries -- meaning a part of humanity as well -- where it is not possible to achieve peace. Lack of peace and wars being waged, directly affect the right to live as a basic human right. This implies that part of humanity is deprived of its liberty -- unfortunately not only where wars are being fought but also in non-democratic societies where fundamental rights are compromised. This means that we still have not managed to establish a society where human rights are respected and where justice and truth are being implemented. I am confident that I will not exaggerate if I say that even today the advanced forces in the world -- and I believe all of us gathered here too -- discuss how to "reach the stars" -- how to attain a society in which everyone will be assured stable peace and respect for human rights.

 An ordinary man such as me tends to simplify his thinking, looking for answers in the Creator and His laws. Thus, my thoughts lead me to pursue answers to the question of where the rights and freedoms of individuals or collectives start to pose a threat to the freedom and rights of others. Causes that impair relationships between individuals and collectives are being hidden in this hard-to-define zone, which then leads to the endangerment of the rights of others. The essential question is how to achieve harmony in our relations which are bounded by differences in cultures, religions, interests, and goals, which would lead us to a society that will ensure lasting peace, stability, and security of the whole of mankind.

During the war in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, I considered it my duty to defend my people, my country -- which I did -- and I am proud of it. I was a soldier and a general, and the ideals that I have fought for were freedom, justice, and truth, confident that those ideals -- once we attain and defend them -- would ensure peace for everyone. Later, after the war, I realized that those against whom I fought were convinced that they were fighting for exactly the same ideals as well. Realizing this has introduced me to a new "dimension" of comprehension of attitudes toward events and phenomena, as well as toward the truth in a society. I believe that many of you are familiar with, or are at least aware of, this dimension that has largely determined my further life stances, and I believe actions as well.

Today, as a politician, with the same zeal, despite numerous obstacles in a country of multiple transitions, and with destructive ideas and ideologies still present, I aim to maintain peace, provide stability which would be sustainable, and attain security and respect for human rights for all peoples and citizens regardless of their nationality, religion, and orientation, on the whole territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sometimes it seems to me that I do not have a lot of companions along this way and that it would be much simpler and easier to walk the way of the loud minority, the way of hypocrisy, lies, and injustice.

I will end my speech by quoting Mother Teresa, a symbol of peace and struggle for the fundamental human rights of those who are deprived of them, and an Nobel Peace Prize laureate: "Love begins at our homes; love lives in homes and that is why there is so much suffering and misery in the world ... It seems that today everyone is in a terrible hurry, impatient to achieve greater success, development, wealth and the like, and children are given so little time from their parents. Parents have no time for each other, and that is how in families begins the disruption of peace in the world.”

For more information about World Summit 2013, click here.