Six Years after BiH ratified Istanbul Convention, what has been done so far?

BiH was amongst first countries in Europe to ratify the Istanbul Convention (Convention of the Council of Europe on preventing and fighting violence against women and domestic violence).

Six years later, little is known about the application of this convention, and therefore, there is a lot of questions on the extent of fulfilment of its goals, that is, if it provided protection to victims and what kind of changes it brought when it comes to prevention of violence against women.

The Istanbul Convention has not been fully incorporated in the legal framework of BiH and there is space for some things that need to be adapted and changed, as stated from Gender Center of the FBiH.

“Situation will be better when it is fully incorporated, but we must not forget that it was worked on protection of victims and punishing of perpetrators even before, and that legal framework existedet. But, some parts of the Istanbul Convention are included in the Law of protection against domestic violence in the FBiH and the RS, but they are not fully incorporated in that framework. There are some particular activities and prevention programs, and therefore we can say that the Istanbul Convention is putting a particular burden and pressure on more complete implementation of law regulations. It brought some changes in that way,” as noted from the Gender Center of the FBiH.

From the Agency for gender equality of BiH noted that they took a decisive, strategic approach to the process of full implementation of the Istanbul Convention. The result of that is General Strategy for implementation of the convention that BiH adopted in July, 2015. One of the more important results of that process is the fact that gender-based violence is recognized as a social problem in BH society and the public, and the state and society have key responsibility for its resolving.

“We started the process of harmonization of the regulatory framework for protection and prevention of gender-based violence. Our main goal is to ensure equal system of prevention and protection of victims of violence in BiH and harmonized legal and institutional framework in order for victims of violence to have equal status, protection and access to services – without discrimination in which entity, canton or municipality they live”, as stated from the Ministry for human rights and refugees of BiH.

They also add that, in accordance with obligation from the Istanbul Convention, significant steps were made in BiH when it comes to establishing multisector teams for protection and prevention of gender-based violence at lower levels of government. Nine of ten cantons in the FBiH created canton protocols regarding treatments in the case of domestic violence, which established mutual cooperation and prescribed procedures regarding treatment of all institutions in providing help to victims of violence, Klix.ba news portal reports.

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