“Officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity, and corruption remained prevalent in many political and economic institutions,” the report said.
Certain politicians “manipulated deep-seated ethnic divisions” by “fostering discrimination in most aspects of daily life [and] distorting public discourse in the media.”
The report noted the government turned a blind eye to police corruption, despite “continued reports of corruption within the state and entity security services.”
In the 2014 general elections, “international observers provided numerous, credible descriptions of political parties manipulating the makeup of the polling station committees,” the report said.
Human rights unrecognized in courts
In relation to the courts, the report found that “the government failed to comply with many decisions pertaining to human rights by the country’s courts.”
Additionally, “The government’s failure to comply with court decisions led plaintiffs to bring cases before the [European Court of Human Rights].”
It mentioned the inefficiency of the courts, “suffering from large backlogs of cases and the lack of an effective mechanism to enforce court orders…making recourse to civil judgments less effective.”
Additionally, the report said the lack of a state restitution law, along with “extensive claims for [property] nationalized during and after World War II” resulted in “many government officials [using] such properties as tools for ethnic and political manipulation.”
Government’s deteriorating respect for free speech
The report found that “governmental respect for [freedom of speech and press] continued to deteriorate during the year.”
“Intimidation, harassment, and threats against journalists and media outlets intensified, while media coverage continued to reflect ethnic and political allegiances”, which made it difficult for the public to gain access to accurate information and hold politicians accountable, it noted.
Furthermore, the report said “independent analysts noted the continuing tendency of politicians and other leaders to label criticism as hate speech or national treason.”
“Public broadcasters remained under strong pressure from government and political forces due to a lack of long-term financial stability and dependence on politically controlled funding sources.”