New recommendations for Bosnia and Herzegovina from the United Nations

This fall, United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) made its concluding observations on the combined fifth and sixth reports of Bosnia and Herzegovina and United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (UN CEDAW) made concluding observations on the sixth periodic report of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
UN CRC particularly recommended to Bosnia and Herzegovina to ensure equal access to sexual and reproductive services for adolescent girls and boys, particularly those in marginalized groups, such as Roma children, LGBTI children and children with disabilities, across the State party.
It also recommended to Bosnia and Herzegovina to:
  • strengthen its efforts to provide systematic information to raise awareness about children’s rights, particularly rights of children in disadvantaged or vulnerable situations, among children, their parents and families and professional groups working with and for children; ​
  • continue efforts to effectively implement the Law on prohibition of discrimination at all levels, including by disseminating the Law with the information on where children can report discrimination and harmonizing the legislation at all levels within the State party in compliance with the Law;
  • address the negative impact of stereotyping and discriminatory attitudes on children’s rights and ensure that the media is sensitized to these stigmatization of children, particularly children in disadvantaged situations, including by encouraging the media to adopt codes of conduct. 
  • ensure that human rights education is an integral and mandatory component of all training for teachers, education professionals and staff at the national, entity, district and cantonal levels.
UN CEDAW particularly recommended to Bosnia and Herzegovina to ensure the respect of the human rights of lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and ensure that national action plans on gender equality address stigma and discrimination against them in all spheres of life.
It also recommended to Bosnia and Herzegovina to:
  • amend its legislation to incorporate a comprehensive definition of discrimination against women that covers direct and indirect discrimination in the public and private spheres and intersecting forms of discrimination;
  • strengthen cooperation with civil society organizations, in particular women’s organizations, in the implementation of the Gender Action Plan of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the period 2018-2022, and systematically involve them in the development of legislation, policies and programmes on gender equality, at the state, entity, district and cantonal levels;
  • strengthen the application of temporary special measures targeting women belonging to disadvantaged groups, including in political and public life as well as in the areas of education, employment and health;
  • develop a comprehensive strategy to eliminate discriminatory gender stereotypes concerning the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and in society;
  • adopt effective measures for the protection of women politicians, journalists, human rights defenders and women’s non-governmental organizations to enable them to freely undertake their important work without fear or threat of violence or harassment;
  • provide women victims/survivors of gender-based violence, including those belonging to disadvantaged groups, with adequate support and assistance, including free legal aid, access to accessible shelters, medical treatment and psychosocial counselling, and provide financial support to civil society organizations that provide assistance to women victims/survivors of gender-based violence;
  • encourage further diversification of educational choices of girls and boys and revise school textbooks and educational materials at the entity, district and cantonal levels to eliminate gender-stereotyped content from teaching materials at all levels of education;
  • include, without further delay, age-appropriate education on sexual and reproductive health and rights into school curricula throughout the State party;
  • incorporate a gender perspective in employment strategies taking into account the needs of disadvantaged groups of women and introduce targeted measures to create further employment opportunities for these women;
  • ensure access to affordable, accessible and high-quality health care, including sexual and reproductive health services, especially for women belonging to disadvantaged groups, by ensuring universal health insurance and by raising awareness among women available health services.
ERA and its member organisations previously submitted written contributions to UN CRC and UN CEDAW.