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(2010) Day 5 – UNSC Resolution 1325

A United Nations resolution (UN resolution) is a formal text adopted by a United Nations (UN) body. Most resolutions are issued by the Security Council or the General Assembly.

On 31st of October 2000, Resolution 1325 was adopted by the Security Council. Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted its national action plan on the 27th of July 2010, the first Balkan state to do so.
This resolution states the “important role of women in the prevention of conflicts and in peace building, and stressing the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and the need to increase their role in decision making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution….”

But why should women be involved in the prevention and resolution of conflicts:

    • Women and girls have different experiences of conflicts
    • Women can offer a fresh perspective and alternative ideas during conflict and post conflict situations
    • Women and children are always he most affected group in the conflict
    • Women have an important role in the prevention of conflicts and in peace building

Priority gender-specific provisions in peace accords are women’s physical security and human rights guarantees. UNIFEM (part of UN Women) review of 24 major peace agreements done in 1992-2008 shows that only 2.5% of signatories of these agreements were women.
Good governance requires equal participation and full involvement of women in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.

One of the things that women need in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a chance to participate and to be involved in the planning of their country’s future. Women don’t just need to know about UNSCR1325, women need to be empowered to implement it. Women and men need to work together to not only raise awareness about this important resolution, but to emphasize the urgent need for women’s voices to be heard and their ideas incorporated throughout the post-conflict process.

In 2006, the Bosnian entity governments introduced legislation on civilian victims of war that also applies to victims of sexual violence during the 1992-1995 war.
The law on entitlement of civilian victims of war to governmental support was spurred on by women activists, who gathered 50,000 signatures to push for greater recognition and relief for women victims of sexual violence during the war in which women were subjected to mass rape and forced pregnancies, as well as UNSC Resolution 1325 calling for increased assistance for women in post-conflict societies.
Despite the success there are, however, shortcomings in terms of implementation of the law with respect to the principle of non-discrimination. The renewed initiative by the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees to formulate a national strategy on reparation is therefore of huge significance. It raises the hope that women subjected to sexual violence and torture during the war will eventually have their needs recognized fully in a non-discriminatory manner and their dignity restored.

(2010) Day 6 – Available Services

Gender-based violence leads to social and psychological isolation. Women that have experienced gender based violence need these necessary services to effectively reintegrate into society

Services Available:

SOS lines

Help lines provide crisis support as well as helpful information

SOS  telephone numbers are:

  • Federation of BiH (1265).
  • Republika Srpska (1264)

Calls to these numbers are free of charge and based on anonymity and trust

Safe Houses

In BiH there are nine safe houses available for providing immediate help and protection to those experiencing violence.  The main services offered in those establishments are: direct physical protection, psychological and social counseling, therapy, and advice, legal counseling and protection, economic empowerment and preparing women for economic independence.

Statistical data – The number of persons accommodated to safe houses in 2009:

Federation of BiH

  • Year 2009 = 317

* Fondation of local democracy-Sarajevo, Medica-Zenica, Vive Žene-Tuzla, Žene sa Une-Bihać, Žena BiH-Mostar i Caritas-Mostar and Gender centar Federacije Bosne i Hercegovine

Republika Srpska

  • Year 2009 = 339

* Safe house Prijedor, Safe house Modriča, Safe house Banja Luka

Local social centers (social protection)

The primary task of local social centers is to empower those that have experienced gender based violence, prevention of new violence, and the development of measures to protect the rights and welfare of persons exposed to violence.

You can find the address and phone number of the center closest to you at one of the following links:

Federacija BiH

http://fmrsp.gov.ba/s/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=35&Itemid=51

Republika Srpska

http://www.vladars.net/sr-SP-Cyrl/Vlada/Ministarstva/MZSZ/PAO/Documents/Centri_za_socijalni_rad.pdf

and http://www.vladars.net/sr-SP-Cyrl/Vlada/Ministarstva/MZSZ/PAO/Documents/Sluzbe_soc_zastite.pdf

Mobile teams

Currently mobile teams operate only in some parts of BiH.  They respond to reports of domestic violence, either by requests from SOS help line or the police. The team consists of representative of police, representative of the Centre for Social Welfare, and representative of NGOs or safe houses. They respond promptly with the aim of immediate and effective protection to those in need and provide necessary steps to initiate court proceedings against perpetrators of domestic violence. If necessary, the team will provide a transport to a closest urgent medical center so that injuries can be treated. Also, if necessary, they will provide a place in one of the safe houses.

Mobile teams are not yet available in all parts of the country, but hope is that with the success of their comprehensive work with individuals who have experienced violence, similar assistance which is much needed will be available soon.

Police

When a case of domestic violence is reported to police, the police are obliged to

  • React in time – go to the scene
  • Provide security to those involved and if needed arrest the perpetrator
  • Present all the evidence obtained in the process to the Prosecutor’s Office
  • Offer advice to the victim on security measures available (example: restraining order)

Medical help

Hospitals and other medical institutions are required to provide overall medical treatment to those that have experienced violence, in order to preserve their physical and mental health and to assist with the injuries and trauma. In the case of suspected domestic violence, health workers are obliged to carefully discuss this issue the person in order to gain the trust.

In cases when the domestic violence has been revealed, health workers are obliged to proceed as follows:

  • Without a delay, inform the local police and social center
  • Determine the causes of injuries, and complete a full medical examination
  • Inform the person about the services available, give them advice, support them
  • In case of physical injuries, a doctor shall document all the injuries, and note them in a person’s medical record.
  • At the request of the prosecutor’s office or the police, doctors are required to submit all important and relevant documentation
  • If the person who committed the violence, or against whom violence was committed, has mental illness or has been treated for alcoholism and other addictions,  they should be referred for appropriate treatment

Reference - The manual for training of health workers in handling domestic violence cases.

Legal help

Legal help aims to provide more efficient use of all legal possibilities in BiH legislation to protect victims and members of their immediate families, and enable them to legal protection in the court.

Safeguard measures, such as restraining orders, are imposed by the local Municipal Courts during the filing of the petition or at the initiation of the proceedings.

  • Removing the perpetrator from the apartment, house or other residential premises and the prohibition of returning to the apartment, house or other premises (not less than 1 month, nor more than 6 months)
  • The court order to the abuser to stay away from the victim, their home, their workplace or their school
  • The court order prohibiting the abuser harassment of the victim, order might request to cease all contact, whether by telephone, notes, mail, fax, email or delivery
  • Providing security to all those that have experienced abuse
  • Court-Mandated psychological counseling and therapy
  • Court-Mandated rehabilitation for addiction treatment (duration of 1 month to 2 years)

Family counseling (Psychological counseling)

Family counseling is intended for those who are exposed to violence and perpetrators of violence.  The aim of psychotherapy treatment is an increase in the individual’s sense of their own well-being, so that they can change dysfunctional patterns of behavior and attitudes.  Relieving and eliminating some of these symptoms leads to the improvement of health, emotional and personal growth of individuals in therapy.

Providing a range of psychological counseling, both through the individual or group therapy, these counseling services aim to support, assist, and empower victims. Everything is done with guaranteed confidentiality and positive motivation.

(2010) Day 7 – Sex Workers

In 2005 the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE) adopted the red umbrella as a symbol of resistance to discrimination and abuse. Red is a color of beauty and an umbrella is the resistance to sky’s and humans’ attacks.

According to broad definition, sex work is the exchange of money or goods for sexual services, either regularly or occasionally, involving female, male, and transgender adults, young people and children where the sex worker may or may not consciously define such activity as income-generating.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina sex work is illegal and sex workers are hidden population. Bosnia and Herzegovina is country with female sex worker prevalence ranged between 0,4% and  1,4% (Estimates of the number of female sex workers in different regions of the world, STI online).

Sex Workers are a very vulnerable group.

85% women engaged to sex work are victims of psychological, physical and/or sexual violence on behalf of husband, family members, clients and pimps.4 in 5 sex workers suffer psychological violence.4 in 6 sex workers suffer physical violence.3 in 5 sex workers suffer sexual violence.

Each seventh sex worker suffers weapon violence.

80% sex workers do not report experienced violence to the law enforcement.

(Association PROI, Population research on GBV prevalence gainst female sex workers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Supported by UNIFEM, AUG-OCT 2010):

(2010) Day 8 – Roma Women

„Roma women for life without violence“ is a comprehensive programme established in order to strengthen Roma women and Roma communities in their fight against discrimination and violence against women, domestic violence in particular, marginalisation of the Roma and their organisations in law- and policy-making processes.

Roma women are particularly vulnerable owing to widely spread prejudices that violence against women is part of the Roma culture. These prejudices affect the work of government institutions. The State has failed to create either an adequate environment in which victims of violence against women can come forward or provide an effective support network for those victims to be able to obtain help and report cases of violence. Roma women victims of violence rarely report cases due to fear, shame, and lack of information about where and from whom to seek help. When violence occurs they neither expect nor receive support from their family, community or the government.

X.Y. from one of the Roma communities says the following:

“… I went to the Centre with my mother because my husband beat me up. I was approaching childbirth and was under age. A gentleman from the Centre went to the hospital with us, when they helped me, and then to a safe house. I did not stay there long. I had to return to my husband again. My family are afraid of him. And it is all the same all over again. I don’t ask for help anyone any longer.“

Text is selected from “Report on Domestic Violence against Roma Women in Bosnia and Herzegovina” – Organization Rights For All

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