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„INTERNATIONAL COFERENCE-THEORY AND PRACTICE OF LEGISLATION IN BH“

Project locality: MUNICIPALITY TREBINJE – 30. and 31. October, 2008

On the 30. and 31. October, 2008 our organization organized in Trebinje the international conference “Theory and practice of the legislation in BH” that gathered a number of participants representatives of various institutions/organizations from Bosnia and Herzegovina and wider. The Conference analysed the current situation of the existing legislation and compared the results from the field that concern children and women’s human rights.

Unavoidable comments on the Conference were covering those laws that relate to these issues in our country and that are applied only sporadically (RS Act on protection from Domestic Violence) or that are only a “dead letter” on a piece of paper (BH Act on gender Equality) as well as laws that leave possibilities for misuse (RS Family Act, acts that concern mobbing etc.).

Fact is that if we take a look at the legal regulations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and its entities a laic reader of this text would be convinced that the situation in our country in terms of respecting human rights is on the highest possible level and that this is a country whose citizens are entirely protected from gender-based discrimination.

However, the situation is not as it seems to be at the first glance. Deeply rooted patriarchal norms – particularly in those governing institutions that should implement legal regulations – prevent the implementation of adopted laws.

Numerous non-governmental organizations working in the field of human rights with particular focus on women and children’s human rights are pointing out problems that exist in the appliance of laws and non-existence of political will in the society to change the situation.

Often, there is an impression that a number of laws are adopted only to “have them” rather than to respect and apply them in practice.

In order to accomplish our goal and, thus, enable more qualitative implementation of laws in the field, following conclusions were made through agreeing views of Conference participants for which we hope that they will contribute to harmonization of theory and practice of legislation in BH that treats women and children’s human rights.

Conclusions from the Conference “Theory and practice of legislation in BH” organized on 30. and 31. October, 2008 in Trebinje

  1. The need to initiate a discussion on the establishment of gender sensitive language with activists from women’s NGOs and linguists, i.e. language experts has been determined.

  1. It is necessary to initiate a new budget line to which all 138 centres for social welfare operating on the BH territory would have to portion 7000 – 15 000 KM for work on prevention of domestic violence.

  1. Bringing in accordance the new act on social protection with European standards wherein victims of domestic violence would belong to the socially jeopardized category.

  1. Provide more attention to victims of domestic violence living in small municipalities and provide free legal aid

  1. A research conducted on the level of BH confirmed that women victims of domestic violence are developing into a new category of the poor and it is, therefore, necessary to develop a program of support that would facilitate their employment

  1. Regular meetings of those organizations who are operating in this field and meetings of service beneficiaries of Safe houses whereon they would analyze and exchange gained experiences.

Recommendations for Entity Governments:

  1. The view of Conference participants has been agreed that it is necessary to amend the Act on Social Protection so that it is harmonized with EU standards. The amendment refers to inclusion of victims of domestic violence into the social category. Participants suggest the introduction of a new budget line within centers for social welfare ranging from 7000 to 15 000 KM intended for victims of domestic violence.

Recommendation to the BH Council of Ministers:

  1. The view of Conference participants has been agreed that it is necessary to develop a program of support for employment of women victims of domestic violence. This program would enable priority employment for women victims of domestic violence, which would prevent the creation of a new category of the poor.

In addition to the thematic units included in the program and which relate to legislation, theory and practice in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we presented on the Conference for the first time the research entitled “Victims of domestic violence as a new category of the poor” that was conducted by our organization on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina in partnership with organizations “Lara” Bijeljina, “Zene BiH” Mostar and “Medika” Zenica, that we are sending you together with the report.

We also presented on this Conference the Study of legislation in EU countries and their implementation, which was prepared for the needs of our organization and for this Conference by the London office of the firm “Dewey & LeBoeuf”.

The reports consists of four units: domestic violence, discrimination and other gender based inequalities, rape and smuggling people. The research encompasses the existing legal acts from listed fields that are applied in the United Kingdom, methods how these are implemented, possibilities for victims to approach institutions that determine justice and organizations and activities in the wider social community that work on essential issues that lead to these phenomena. The summary of the Study is also enclosed to the report.