Bosnia and Herzegovina pledges implementation of the Istanbul Convention (updated)

Committing to gender equality and the empowerment of women on the national and international levels, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) will build on a solid legal and institutional framework for the advancement of gender equality, requiring affirmative measures by the State aimed at achieving gender equality. It will act in line with its Gender Action Plan 2013–2017 and 1325 Action Plan 2014–2017. It pledges to implement the Council of Europe [Istanbul] Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. Three areas it will address in particular include greater inclusion of women and reduction of labour market segregation; prevention of domestic violence; and support for women survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.

Speaking at the Global Leaders’ Meeting on 27 September 2015, Chairman of the Presidency Dragan Čović said: “Our continued dedication to issues of women’s empowerment and advancement is a way of healing our society…and providing for its further development.” [ Speech ]

Developments since Bosnia and Herzegovina’s commitment

The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has taken several steps since its commitment to implement the Istanbul Convention to prevent and address violence against women. A methodology for monitoring the implementation of the Convention and data collection has been adopted, an online database on domestic violence has been set up, and the Gender Equality Agency has partnered with civil society organizations to address gender-based violence in BiH.

In order to draw public attention to the problem of femicide, the First Regional Conference on Femicide was held in Banja Luka. The Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees of BiH introduced a budget-line for grants to civil society organizations, and international donors have committed funds to combat gender-based violence.

In order to support women survivors of sexual violence in conflict, the Criminal Code was aligned with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, as to recognize the persecution on “political, racial, national, ethnic, culture, religious, gender and other ground” as a criminal act against humanity. The Court of BiH issued two verdicts deciding that in addition to the jail time, the perpetrators were obligated to give reparations.

To promote women’s participation in the labour market, the country passed new laws in 2015 prohibiting discrimination on the basis of marital status, family obligations and pregnancy. A nationwide project is also strengthening women’s entrepreneurship, marketability and self-employment options. [ Full update ]