BiH state Parliament takes steps to address discrimination
In 2009 Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) adopted a national Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination. However, nearly two decades after the end of the country’s 1992-1995 war, many BiH citizens still face difficulties in obtaining government services or employment due to their ethnicity or status as returnees or refugees. Gender-based discrimination is also a serious problem.
Under the USAID Parliamentary Strengthening Project in BiH, SUNY/CID partnered with Vaša Prava BiH, the country’s leading free legal aid provider, to identify patterns of ongoing discrimination. SUNY/CID mined Vaša Prava BiH’s extensive casework database to develop a policy paper on the implementation of the Law. Mr. Adnan Kadribašić, the paper’s author, made several presentations to parliamentary committees and bodies to present the findings. On May 8, 2012, Kadribašić presented the paper during a session of the State Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights at which Vaša Prava BiH also gave testimony. Committee Members welcomed the presentation and called the paper the first substantive analysis of the implementation of this important Law.
Following the presentation, the PS Project helped Committee staffers to draft eight specific conclusions that will strengthen implementation of the Law. The conclusions are formal recommendations to the State Ministries for Human Rights and Refugees, Justice, and Finance and Treasury that provide concrete guidance on closing gaps in the legal framework and in applying the Law. They require that the Ministries draft missing secondary legislation, that the executive harmonize new legislation with the Law, that the Ministries submit regular reports on compliance with the Law and specific instances of discrimination, and that the Ministry of Human Rights create an action plan to ensure that it takes a strategic approach toward promoting human rights.
On Jan. 17, 2013, the Committee adopted all eight conclusions; as recommended by SUNY/CID, the conclusions include clear timeframes for implementation. The Committee has pledged to consistently follow-up with the Ministries during the coming months.
Posted Feb. 27, 2013