Bosnia and Herzegovina

Journalists and human rights defenders are under threat because of their work in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Corruption is widespread and access to justice inadequate. This is linked to an insufficient process of dealing with the past. In our collaborations we are dealing with these issues.

Read about the current human rights situation in our country report Human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina

First Judgement for Wartime Sexual Violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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On the 24th of June, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina issued the first judgement on reparations for survivors of wartime sexual violence in the Western Balkans. Two former members of the Army of Republika Srpska have been sentenced to ten years of imprisonment each for rape committed against a minor in 1992. The claimant will also be compensated an amount of approximately EUR 13.550.

Human Rights Organisations Propose Amendments to Ensure Adequate Regulation of Hate Crime

Ena Bavcic

As a member of the Coalition for Combat Against Hate Speech and Hate Crime, Civil Rights Defenders supports the Coalition’s proposed amendments to the Criminal Code of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which aims to ensure adequate regulation of hate crime. We also ask the House of Commons of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to organize a session on the topic of adequate regulation of hate crime.

Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina

It is twenty years since the end of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The country has been described as the state that has made the least progress when it comes to EU integration of all of the Western Balkans countries. In spite of widespread workers protests in February 2014,political deadlock is continuing to hamper human rights organisations in their capacities as watchdog. Inter-ethnic violence, hate speech, and poor implementation of human rights standards is still part of everyday life in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Government has failed to initiate reforms of the judiciary, whilst media independence and self-censorship remain key impediments to the implementation of freedom of expression standards. New laws that are seriously damaging human rights and freedoms are being introduced on a daily basis.

Public Discussion about Law on Public Peace and Order in Republika Srpska (BiH)

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Civil Rights Defenders is organising a public discussion about the newly adopted Law on Public Peace and Order in Republika Srpska (BiH). How will the law influence independent media, civil society organisations and the state of human rights and freedom of speech in Republika Srpska and the whole Bosnia and Herzegovina? Is the law protecting public peace and order or the authorities? Join us and take part in the debate!

Media Outlet Raided – Severe Breach of Media Freedom

Photo: Civil Rights Defenders

On 28 December the Police of the Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina forcibly entered the premises of Klix-ba, one of the most influential web portals based out of Sarajevo. According to a police spokesperson the raid was said to have been sanctioned by Sarajevo’s Cantonal Court. The Police entered the premises in an attempt to uncover the source of a recording that is said to be that of Republika Srpska Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic.

House of representatives adopted proposed definition of hate crime

Sumeja Tulic, programme officer at Civil Rights Defenders in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On 24 July, the House of Representatives of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted the legal amendment proposed by civil society, including a definition on hate crime. “I am very pleased that our effort to foster a coalition of organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina has yielded such a positive outcome”, says Sumeja Tulic, programme officer at Civil Rights Defenders.

Trans Gender Europe: Bosnia adopts trans-inclusive hate crime law

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TGEU reports that “Bosnia i Herzegovina’s House of Representatives recently adopted hate crime legislation that is inclusive of gender identity and sexual orientation”. The legislation reads “Whoever publicly incites or makes publicly available pamphlets, photos, texts and other materials which advocates, urges or incites hatred, discrimination or violence directed by any person or group of […]

Definition of hate crime in the Criminal Law needs to be improved

28-30 November 2012 Civil Rights Defenders organised a workshop on hate crimes and hate speech. The workshop included training in monitoring, advocacy and litigation strategies. Photo: Civil Rights Defenders

The Draft of the Law on Amendments to the Criminal Law in Bosnia and Herzegovina, recently sent to the parliament, contains narrow and incomplete legal formulations of hate crimes and exclude several protected grounds. This caused Civil Rights Defenders’ partner to propose changes to the legal formulation of hate crimes. Civil Rights Defenders urges the authorities to take the needed steps in accepting the changes.

Future professionals trained in freedom of speech

Photo: Press Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Theoretical and practical insight into national media legislation and European standards in the field make law students better prepared to handle human rights issues in their future work as legal professionals. That is why Civil Rights Defenders, together with one of its long-term partners, the Press Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is conducting trainings for law students in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Video: Activism for change – Youth Initiative for Human Rights in BiH

Youth Inititative for Human Rights in BiH

Since its establishment in 2006 the Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina has grown to become a well-respected organisation. Today their network of youth activists is the longest running network of its kind and it is involved in all major human rights events, in the country. Civil Rights Defenders has worked with the YIHR BiH since the beginning. This video describes the work of achieving change in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Fighting corruption with Transparency International

Bosnia and Herzegovina is ranked among the most underdeveloped and corrupt countries in the world where reforms are slowly implemented (the same level with Zambia, Jamaica, Senegal and Dominican Republic). Citizens’ participation is a crucial component to a culture of tackling corruption, since integrity, accountability and transparency must take hold societal and systemically if it is to uproot corruption practices.

Monitoring trials – in cooperation with Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Through Civil Rights Defenders partnership with the Helsinki Committee we monitor and report on fair trial standards in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the last couple of years we have also worked intensively on lobbying for an all inclusive Law against discrimination, in addition to the regular long-term activities of providing free legal aid to victims of human rights violations.