Together with its partners BHWI and Vaša Prava BiH, UNHCR supported the 16 Days of Activism campaign organized by UN Women Bosnia and Herzegovina with the support of the Embassy of Sweden under the motto #neznačine i #prepoznajidjeluj (#nomeansno and #recognizeandact).
The campaign was focused on the fight against sexual violence and harassment against women and girls in BiH, within which info corners were organized in five cities – Bihać, Banja Luka, Mostar, Tuzla and Sarajevo – where psychologists, social workers and legal experts had conversations with citizens about sexual violence, how to recognize sexual violence and what protection mechanisms are available.
During this year’s campaign, UNHCR funded the organization of one info corner in Bihać, while UNHCR’s partners Vaša Prava BiH and BHWI provided experts in info corners.
Gabrijela Rubić, social worker and family counselor at the BHWI Foundation, said:
“We are glad that, in addition to our activities in this campaign, we also contributed in this way to inform citizens about the forms of sexual violence and harassment and the mechanisms of protection and help available to them”.
The results of the quiz that citizens filled in during the info corners, which show how much they know about sexual harassment and violence, were presented at the final event.
In addition, UNHCR’s partner BHWI organized a series of events and activities, such as focus groups with beneficiaries from Syria, Turkey, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Iran, in cooperation with cultural mediators and other organizations.
The focus groups were held in the temporary reception centre Ušivak, where BHWI has a permanently present team. The goal was to start discussions on the topic of violence against women.
Association Vaša Prava BiH, also a partner organization of UNHCR, ensured the presence of legal advisers in all five info corners who provided legal advice on the topic of sexual violence and protection mechanisms.
“In theory, there are violence prevention mechanisms that are often not applied in practice. People we work with report that their problem is trivialized, influencing them to resist reporting it. That is why it was important that, as a part of the campaign and as a partner organization of UNHCR, we were present at info corners and available to visitors who wanted to know more about how is regulated the segment of rights in protection against sexual violence and domestic violence” said Amila Šahdan, a legal advisor from Association Vaša Prava BiH.
In cases when they receive information on violence in the family, Vaša Prava BiH continues to proceed according to established procedures, such as a request for a restraining order, divorce assistance, child safety trust and other procedures. They continuously offer legal assistance and legal information on measures to prevent and protect against violence.
Key goals of the campaign are related to strengthening citizens’ awareness of various forms of sexual violence and harassment, such as stalking, harassment in public space and marital rape, and pointing out the importance of ensuring a legal framework for protection against sexual violence and harassment, as well as its application following international standards. This primarily refers to the harmonization of entity criminal laws with the Istanbul Convention in the context of defining acts of rape and sexual harassment.
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