Conference on Stigma Mitigation held in Sarajevo

October 5, 2017 5:30 PM

It has been 22 years since war ended in BiH, but victims of sexual violence are still faced with a high level of stigmatization in society, and there is a wrong stance that it is problem of the past, whereas actually it is a problem of the present and the future.

This was emphasized in Sarajevo today at a Conference on Stigma Mitigation organized by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in cooperation with the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees of BiH, when the Program of Stigma Mitigation for BiH was presented.

This pilot-project will be implemented in Goražde, and as an activist Harun Čustović explained it will be an opportunity to support stigmatized persons who survived sexual torture and there will be numerous activities whose aim will be destigmatization.

Minister of Human Rights and Refugees of BiH Semiha Borovac stated it is necessary to approach solving of the issue of stigmatization of survivors with more skills and more openly, because she believes that everyone is responsible for that, considering that destigmatization was not done on time.

“Unfortunately, we have allowed the issue of torture victims in BiH to be politicized, which is why there has not been a unified legislation on torture victims 22 years since the war. That is no longer an issue of human rights, but it is about humanity of society,” said Borovac.

Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten explained that stigma and damage it causes does not disappear, therefore there will be support for the efforts BiH is making to mitigate stigmatization, especially when it comes to economic strengthening of torture victims.

“I talked to children who were born after rape in war in BiH, and one of them, who is a woman today, is working with other children. Victims from BiH have numerous lessons they can share. I have met children from other countries who were born after their mothers were raped, which means it is a universal problem,” added Patten.
Program of Stigma Mitigation for BiH was made based on a Poll on Stigmatization of Persons who Survived Sexual Violence in Conflict in BiH and consultations with citizens carried out by UNFPA in 2015.



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