ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey (ERA), in partnership with Tuzla Open Center, hosted the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue Meeting: Access to Justice For LGBTIQ+ people on 19 September in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue Meeting aimed to contribute to higher reporting and increasing trust in the system by promoting the You Are Heard platform.
In the event's first session, opening remarks were given by Amarildo Fecanji, ERA, Dina Bajraktarevic, Tuzla Open Center, Alessandro De Giacomo, Delegation of the European Union, and Vahagn Muradyan, Council of Europe.
The second segment was focused on promoting the You Are Heard Platform. The platform was developed by ERA in partnership with Stonewall UK and 13 member organisations from the Western Balkans and Turkey and supported by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office. You Are Heard is a platform where the LGBTQI+ community and allies in 9 countries of the Balkans and Turkey can safely report hate incidents and find support. The collected data will contribute to evidence-based advocacy to improve the accountability of actors across the region in the administration of justice; and develop community-wide approaches to addressing hate crimes/speech such as psychosocial support, peer-to-peer counselling, support groups, educational workshops to recognise hate crime/speech and where to report it and similar.
The final segment included a round table discussion. The speakers included Dina Bajraktarevic, Tuzla Open Centre, Ali Huremovic, Trans activist, Jasminka Alagic, Public Prosecution, Emira Mujcic, Police officer, Elisa Music, Police officer, Alma Suljic, Office of Ombudsperson and Biljana Ginova, ERA as a discussion moderator.
The main conclusions and recommendations from the event included:
- Police to organise a raising awareness campaign to increase reporting of hate crimes on any ground, including SOGIES. Further, the police to organise visibility activities to inform the LGBTIQ+ population about the trained officers to work with LGBTIQ+ victims.
- Police and prosecution are to continue with their close cooperation with LGBTIQ+ organisations.
- To update the system and introduce the practice for classifying cases as hate crimes both in the police and prosecution.
- The Ombudsperson office published a report on LGBTI in 2016, presented in the Bosnia and Herzegovina Parliament. It was recommended they continue with this practice in the future.
- Ombudsperson office and LGBTIQ+ organisations to support state and public institutions with access to information and continues training on LGBTIQ+ issues.
- With support by the Council of Europe to initiate cooperation with the prisons on work with LGBTIQ+ people and, in particular, on concerns of transgender people.
- Continuous advancement and harmonisation of the legislation to ensure better access to justice for LGBTIQ+ people;
- The state fails to ensure proper implementation of the legislation, thus failing to protect LGBTIQ+ people from violence and discrimination. Efforts need to be placed to tackle the current culture of impunity and improve the legislation implementation;
- To Center for Education of Judges and Prosecutors in Tuzla to include modulus on LGBTIQ+ issues.
- The institutions to work on increasing the trust of the LGBTIQ+ community to increase the reporting of discrimination, hate crimes and hate speech.
- Continuous multi-stakeholders dialogues and cooperation is needed to advance the situation with access to justice for LGBTIQ+ people.
- The donor community should provide funding and support for the programs of LGBTI+ organisations on access to justice for LGBTI+ persons.
The event was supported by the Horizontal Facility programme of the European Union and Council of Europe.