|Mapping of available documentation and literature concerning freedom of religion and interreligious dialogue, as information support for researching these topics
Questions concerning religion, the role of religion in society, freedom of religious belief and secularism are some of the crucial, and at the same time some of the most delicate questions when it comes to the development of democratic society in Bosnia and Herzegovina aspiring to the political, economic and cultural reconstruction and reconciliation after years of difficult temptations during recent past.
In this sense there is a need for a comprehensive research of these topics in order to create space for better mutual understanding and respect for rights of all in the spirit of European values, as well as the broader context of European integration processes.
The overall objective of this project is to give some form of informational support to researchers, participants and partners in the project Freedom of Religion and Inter-religious Dialogue: Individual – Communities – State (Project), and facilitate the exploration of certain themes that are the focus of the Project by identifying and locating the available literature. In this way, we would contribute to the encouragement for studying these topics not just during the implementation of this project, but in the future as well. Our further goal would be to make the information available for the broader community and all interested parties.
The intention of the project is:
1. To explore theavailableresources in BiH – map (identify and locate) available literature on specific subjects such as freedom of religion, interreligious dialogue, interreligious relations and secularism.
2. To make selective bibliography and webliography on specific subjects (mentioned above).
3. To provide expertinformationsupport (by HRC library staff) to participants on Project, by putting all our library recourses and services with expert support of the HRC library staff.
Project Mapping of available documentation and literature concerning freedom of religion and interreligious dialogue, as information support for researching these topics is being implemented with support of German Agency for International Cooperation, Office for Bosnia and Herzegovina, GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ).
Project duration: April 2012 – October 2012
How we teach our children: psycho-social aspects of students/teachers exposure to apartheid/segregation in divided schools (two schools under one roof)
With Dayton Agreement and position of education in BiH, especially in FBiH, we have become a country of paradoxes. Education in entire world is getting closer to and streaming towards unity and centralisation, while education in BiH has become decentralised relying on principles of separation and differences and the least on foundations of real education and knowledge. Setting the education under cantonal jurisdiction enabled its local character. Instead of educational principles relying on universal values they rely more on provincial and national differences. This situation is most visible in primary and secondary education where, with a taciturn consent of international community and organisations dealing with educational reforms, we have a phenomenon of so called “two schools under one roof”. This example of segregation in education is shaped as apartheid in education. In same school building there are two different/separated school managements, students are divided by ethnic background and attend classes under thematically opposed textbooks and curricula. At the same time, this is considered as acceptable and normal. Very often the school bears different names or students of different ethnicity attend classes in different shifts which prevents them from establishing a contact with students of different ethnicity. Situation in this area is very difficulty in Srednje-Bosanski and Hercegovina-Neretva Canton. Not only this situation is far from any European or international standards in education but it doesn’t provide any opportunity for development and prosperity of younger generations nor does it create any preconditions for BiH accession to EU.
German foundation Schuler Helfen Leben, in cooperation with pro.ba/SCCA, has produced a documentary on this phenomenon. The premiere of the documentary, 24 minutes in length, was held on 18 March 2010. During the filming, in the period May 2009 – February 2010, more than 100 hours of raw material was collected. We have written approval from SHL Foundation for access to entire material, as unique as it is, in order to elaborate scientific study within this project. The aim of the project is to analyse the video material from psychological, anthropological, sociological, political science and philosophical perspective and to provide the scientific and expert public in BiH for the first time with interdisciplinary analysis of this phenomenon. This study will be used to open discussion in expert community and to present the findings to wider public.
For the purpose of the study we have hired five external associates (psychologist, anthropologist, sociologist, political scientist and philosopher) where each one would provide his/her analysis of the raw material. Upon finalization of these analyses, one researcher will conduct synthetic analysis and provide recommendations. These recommendations will be a basis for discussion and advocating for reduction of segregation, as well as possibility for abolishing the phenomenon of “two schools under one roof”.
Project duration: September 2011-September 2012
School that I love
Upon initiative of Multidisciplinary Association for the Promotion of Mental and Social Health (MDD) and encouraged by increase of juvenile delinquency and inssufficient involvement of class teachers in education of young people, as the basis and precondition for a better, healthier and more prosperous society, the Human Rights Centre of the University of Sarajevo, Youth Initiative for Human Rights and proMENTE together with MDD, have designed this project to contribute in improvement classroom teaching, as part of the formation of future generations of young people.
General project objective is afirmation of positive values in the educational system , with the aim of the functional development of young people and contribution to the development of more stable and healthier society.
Specific project objectives are:
- To improve the system of educational values in secondary schools through structured training of teachers in social competence and communication skills;
- Contribute to the reduction of socially unacceptable behavior (and delinquency);
- Amend / revise the existing legal framework for introduce new work standards in secondary schools, with more space to create good relations between student-teacher-parent, and educational work that will be appropriate for today's young people
- Improvement of educational work in schools, specifically in work with class community, through interaction and application of modern interactive teaching methods – workshops.
Activities planned in project envisage: organization and preparation of project activities - promotion, contacting, research, book of proceeedings - examples of good practice, as well as organization of the conference "School that I love".
Research will be done with the aim of analysing the situations and needs of pupils, parents and teachers in secondary schools. The book of proceedings - examples of good practice will promote existing good practices in education and teaching in high schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Paralel to these activities there will be organization of the conference "School that I love" to be held in late January 2012 in Sarajevo. The results of research, as well as book of proceedings - examples of good practice will be presented during the confernece.
Second part of the project includes work on creating a curriculum for training of teachers, realization of the curriculum in 2 partner schools in Sarajevo Canton, campaign "School that I love", and after the evaluation, offering curriculum to all Pedagogical Institutes in Bosnia and Herzegovina for further application. Paralel to this, there will be a campaign "School that I love" with action plan as result of previous activities.
Annual Human Rights Report in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2011)
The HRC Sarajevo believes that continuity of comprehensive annual human rights reporting in Bosnia and Herzegovina is important and of a great interest to all human rights organizations (national and international) as well as to the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina and number of international agencies. Confirmation of this, one may find in numerous letters received by HRC as well as personal communication with HR community representatives. The report, containing public opinion surveys on human rights, will monitor government activities, but also outline the targets for the future activities of the civil sector.
The objectives of the project are:
1. To monitor and report on the human rights situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina through a comprehensive overview of human rights abuses, violations, methods of protection and respect for human rights, from the legislative, practical and citizens’ perspective and to disseminate information and impart knowledge about human rights. To advocate for concrete legislative changes based on the report.
2. To inform, educate and influence public officials, civil servants, police officers, representatives of government bodies, MPs and other officials about basic human rights guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) and to raise awareness of the need to improve the quality of the rights of the citizens.
3. To disseminate knowledge about international and European human rights standards among NGO’s and increase their sensitivity to human rights violations at the Bosnia and Herzegovina level.
4. To increase the level of protection of human rights among the national, entity, cantonal, municipal and district courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina through the promotion of human rights and education on ECHR.
5. To raise awareness about human rights among citizens which are recognized to be the most violated.
6. To identify the common problems in the enjoyment, protection and promotion of the human rights culture in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
7. To create fertile ground for unified methodology of human rights research, analyzing and comparing the trends in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
8. Producing a report that identifies trends on the basis of which optimal decisions of future intervention areas can be made.
9. To create domestic human rights experts base capable for human rights monitoring and reporting in accordance to highest European and international (UN) standards.
This project represents continuation of the previously implemented project: Annual Human Rights Report in Bosnia and Herzegovina 2008
Protection of Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina - Phase I (01 February – 31 July 2010)
In scope of its previous engagements in the field of protection of rights of persons with disabilities, the Human Rights Centre of the University of Sarajevo has started a project on “Protection of Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina” on 01 February 2010, financed by the Open Society Institute – Disability Rights Initiative Programme.
The main goal of this project is to ensure efficient implementation of the rights of persons with disabilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Particularly, this project aims at educating and training legal experts of Vasa prava B&H in terms of protection of rights of persons with disabilities, as well as campaigning for introduction and implementation of UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Phase I – Training of Trainers (ToT)
Training of trainers - lawyers delegated by Vaša prava BiH to be responsible for delivery of legal aid and strategic litigation in the area of protection of rights of persons with disabilities. This phase is focused on organizing training for lawyers working at Vaša prava BiH on instruments and standards for protection of human rights of persons with disabilities (Conventions and Recommendations, as well as national legislation). The ambition was to provide participants with specific steps constituting the process of strategic litigation (from recognising the relevant case and further on) with special focus on international standards for protection of human rights of persons with disabilities as well as existing national legislation regulating this issue.
In this first phase, HRC Sarajevo expects following outputs from abovementioned activities:
1) Training needs assessment;
2) Workshop programme;
3) Workshop materials;
4) List of potential strategic litigation cases;
5) Workshop report;
6) Strategy and action plan for further action in strategic litigation for rights of persons with disabilities.
Contribution to Constitutional Reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Contribution to Constitutional Reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter “Project”) remains to be a unique effort - supported by Swiss Government, and implemented by, among others, Human Rights Centre of the University of Sarajevo (hereinafter “HRC Sarajevo”) in cooperation with domestic partners and prominent public personalities - aimed at ensuring platform for wide public participation in the process of the reform of the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Project activities attracted significant public attention and recognition, which is manifested through indicators such as attendance at the organized public events; profile of participants (members of decision-making bodies, prominent members of academic community and civil society activists); media coverage and reporting. Current activities in the project are as follows:
Human Rights Centre of the University of Sarajevo (coordinator of the entire project)
· Expertise/workshops for Bosnia and Herzegovina MPs and key political party advisors dealing with the issues of power-sharing and consensus-making in the context of constitutional changes
· University course for future decision-makers (young academics and postgraduates) on democratic institutions for plural societies
· Working excursion to Switzerland for high profile journalist and opinion leaders
· E-publication “Constitutional Changes Monitor”
The Monitor is a weekly review of printed media reporting on constitutional changes in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Monitor is disseminated through mailing list with more than 200 contacts which includes individuals and institutions who expressed interest in participating in the process of constitutional changes. The Monitor represents the mechanism for observing the public perception and different political standings regarding the process of constitutional changes. Through this targeted media reporting coverage it is possible to identify main directions and content of the ongoing constitutional debate.
· Policy paper “Report on Public Debates on Amendment I of the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina”
On March 9, 2009, constitutional and legal commissions of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina announced public call, published in several daily newspapers, for participation in public debate on Amendment I of the Constitution of BiH. The Amendment was dealing with the status of Brcko District and its ambition was to introduce Brcko District in the constitutional text. The working group was established and domestic public consultations expert, Ms. Aida Vezic, was engaged to monitor the process and develop policy recommendations for improvement the quality of public consultations regarding constitutional reform. At the moment, policy paper is under the final editorial intervention and will be published in the forthcoming period.
· Publication “Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and European Convention on Human Rights”
Under the full supervision of the HRC Sarajevo, prof. Lada Sadikovic of Sarajevo University Faculty of Criminology will start with the development of the text dealing with the need to harmonize Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the European Convention on Human Rights.
The decision to support this activity is a result of fact that domestic political leaders are more then ever united in their recognition of need for eliminating discriminatory provisions from the Constitution. Furthermore, it seems that harmonization with the European Convention on Human Rights is the only constitutional issues with the consensual support and it is very likely that any future constitutional changes will start with this effort.
Therefore, it is necessary to provide decision-makers with the comprehensive academic contribution which will clearly explain what it really means to reform Constitution in line with the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights. This will be the ambition of the publication to be written by prof. Lada Sadikovic.
Association of Cities and Municipalities of Federation of B&H and Association of Cities and Municipalities of Republic of Srpska
Regional consultations and public debates in the local communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina:
This segment of the Project is implemented in the partnership with the two entity Associations of Cities and Municipalities (hereinafter Associations), as only authentic representatives of network of local communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The main ambition of their involvement within the Project is twofold: first one is to bring closer process of constitutional changes to local communities and second one is to try to articulate the expectations of local communities from the process of constitutional changes and even to formulate them in the form of well-developed proposals for constitutional changes concerned with the position of local self-government in the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Associations successfully organized ten (14) public debates (Bijeljina, Bihać, Banja Luka, Zenica, Živinice, East Sarajevo, Mostar, Nevesinje, Foča, Vitez, Doboj, Gradačac, Tomislavgrad and Milići), attended by approximately 800 participants, including municipal mayors, delegates in the municipalities councils, representatives of civil society organizations, media and citizens. Beside municipalities where debates were organized, the Associations invited representatives of neighbouring municipalities as well, so it can be concluded that debates manage to get together representatives of approximately seventy (70) municipalities.
The Associations will introduce preliminary results of debates to the key decision-makers and continue with the organization of remaining two (2) public debates. After that, experts will prepare their final papers, summarizing the results and recommendations collected during public debates. On the basis of these recommendations, the Associations will decide about further steps regarding their advocating for local self-government as subject of constitutional changes.
Citizens association “Why Not”
Don’t hold us back!
Project „Don't hold us back!“ is aimed to create public discussion about the positive ways for reform of the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and advocate constitutional sollutions that would ensure the introduction of direct democracy in the BiH Constitution. Also, the project would advocate sollutions that would eliminate discrimination and violations of human rights inside the framework of the Constitution.
Thanks to their local partners in fifthteen (15) cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Association „Why Not“ will initiate campaign for introducing the principles of direct democracy into the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the main ambition to collect 30000 signatures for constitutional amandments they developed.
There are three outputs made in the project implementation:
Institute for Social Research of the Faculty of Political Sciences of the University of Sarajevo and Association Alumni of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Studies of the University of Sarajevo
Others: Initiative for Rethinking Constitutional Categories in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The main ambition of the Others Project is to provide arguments and support constitutional changes to ensure equal access to constitutional rights for “others” in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is going to be achieved through organization of efficient academic and stakeholders dialogue followed by advocacy campaign with publicly articulated, scientifically argued justified claim for equality and dignity for all citizens, including the “others”.
Young Lawyers Association in Bosnia and Herzegovina
New Ideas, A Better Constitution: The Contribution of Young Lawyers to Constitutional Reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The leading idea of this initiative is that young lawyers in Bosnia and Herzegovina are in need of a working platform which will enable them to produce new and fresh ideas for ongoing debate on constitutional issues. The Project as a whole will use established infrastructure and contacts to communicate and disseminate these ideas and new solutions toward key decision-makers in the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Project will facilitate and support the working group composed of young lawyers who are going to discuss and propose solutions for all know open questions concerning constitutional reform such as “entity voting”, territorial organization, discrimination provisions, etc.
Antidiscrimination Law Commentary
The principle of equality and non-discrimination runs like a red thread throughout all human rights treaties and declarations. Non-discrimination is both a human right of its own and a constitutive element of all human rights. Non-discrimination rules exist at international, supranational (EU and CoE) and national level. Although non-discrimination is a key principle of the Annex IV of Dayton Peace Agreement and Bosnia and Herzegovina has ratified numerous international instruments with the aim of combating discrimination (including Protocol 12 to the European Convention of Human Rights), discrimination has never been totally eradicated from the society and remains prevalent.
A comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Law (adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of B&H in July 2009) introduces new concepts to a legal system. Before the introduction of this instrument discrimination has been considered only by the Human Rights Chamber and recently the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the new concept introduced by this Law aims to include a wider spectrum of stakeholders and tackle discrimination cases on the lower level of the national judicial system. As a result, the definitions of direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, etc. will appear as concepts that are most problematic to understand, and B-H judiciary will need some time to develop case law that would guide the practitioners in their perception of this Law.
Human Rights Centre of the University of Sarajevo, is convinced that the elaboration of the Commentary on Anti-Discrimination Law in Bosnia and Herzegovina would lead to its full understanding and proper implementation. This would, in final, lead to decrease in number of discriminatory practices in the country. The overall objective of the project is to assist the process of implementation of the Anti-Discrimination Law in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This will lead to decrease in cases of discrimination of citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The intention of the project is:
1. To elaborate the Commentary on the Anti-Discrimination Law in Bosnia and Herzegovina that would ensure full understanding of the Law and its proper implementation in the practice.
2. To create a module for training of judges, prosecutors and lawyers in Bosnia and Herzegovina on proper application and implementation of the Law.
3. To increase the level of implementation of antidiscrimination provisions in courts proceedings in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
4. To inform and educate citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina on existence and implications of the Anti-Discrimination Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Regional Research Promotion Programme in Western Balkans (RRPP)
Regional Research Promotion Programme in the Western Balkans - RRPP is programme implemented by University of Fribourg, Switzerland, with the support of Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC). The Programme aims at strengthening and building up sustainable transition-relevant social research capacities in the region (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia). Human Rights Centre of the University of Sarajevo is the local coordination unit (LCU) of the Programme for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Research in the social sciences is particularly relevant to the transition process, as its results can help to understand the need for reforms and to identify long-term implications of policy choices. Furthermore, research in the social sciences helps to increase the visibility of options or opportunities and to evaluate political decisions by addressing issues of discrimination, disparities, democratic participation and governance, as well as nation-building. These issues are essential ingredients of political stability and a pre-requisite for economic and social development.
What did we achieve so far?
During the period 2008 – 2011, under the umbrella topic "Political, Social and Economic Change in the Western Balkans”, we have supported 29 research projects (5 regional and 24 national). Out of this number, 2 regional and 4 national projects were from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Furthermore, 12 regional trainings conducted by international specialists for research methods and management have been organized, gathering a total of 209 participants. In order to improve the capacity building impact and research quality, we have financed individual mentoring sessions and participation at international conferences for the research teams that are supported by RRPP.
By 2011, three annual scientific conferences have been organized, gathering 282 regional and international scholars. Besides the effect of networking, such conferences provide researchers an opportunity to present their work and expose it to critical review. In 2012, RRPP is organizing Fourth Annual Scientific Conference from 24-27 May in Sarajevo (more about the conference at: http://rrpp-westernbalkans.net/en/conferences/Upcoming-Conferences.html
The RRPP target group is the next generation of researchers, professors and decision-makers at research institutions in the region. The RRPP focuses on assistants/associate professors and their MA or PhD students as nucleus partners. In order to contribute to the reduction of the gender gap, the RRPP will pay particular attention to the inclusion of female researchers.
How to participate?
The programme operates through three inter-related pillars:
1. The allocation of research grants for projects that are concerned with issues related to transformation processes in the region. Currently, there is an open call for research projects (deadline 31 March 2012): http://rrpp-westernbalkans.net/en/research/Calls.html
2. The organization of methodological and thematic trainings provided by international and regional experts and mentors (more info on trainings held so far: http://rrpp-westernbalkans.net/en/capacity-building/Completed-Trainings.html)
3. The enabling and strengthening of regional interactions and cooperation – especially through training and regional / international conferences (more infor on past conferences: http://rrpp-westernbalkans.net/en/conferences/Past-Conferences.html).
More information about RRPP and activities available at:
Retraining Lawyers in Transitional Countries of South-East Europe
Retraining Lawyers in Transitional Countries of South-East Europe project is being realised as a regional three-year project with the equal partnership of Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Centre for Human Rights and Democracy-CEDEM from Podgorica, and the Centre for Human Rights University of Sarajevo. During the first phase of the project in the period from December 2001 to December 2002, the main objective was to enable legal professionals of different branches as well as lawyers in general better understanding of human rights, raising awareness on importance of human rights, as well as gaining necessary knowledge to contribute to implementation of the rule of law in countries of the origin. The intention was to introduce the participants of the project to legislative and judicial practice of neighbouring countries in the region and with decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and supervising bodies of the international conventions on human rights. Legal professionals in the region mostly didn't have the opportunity during their education to meet the instruments used in international promotion and protection of human rights or to start to implement the same themselves as direct carriers of judicial reforms (that is usual practice in countries of Western Europe and the world).
Having in mind that it is impossible, considering the duration of the project, to retrain all lawyers in the region, active participants in the project were legal professionals – practical persons including judges, prosecutors, lawyers, judicial interpreters, assistants etc. The idea was to retrain this specific group as the target one, for it represents carriers and direct executors in judicial reforms that all participating countries must implement in order to reach European standards and develop the rule of law. Also, through participation in this project, a large pool of legal professionals has been created, who have the chance to pass on their obtained knowledge and, most importantly, to start implementing the European Convention on Human Rights (which is an obligation, as far as BH is concerned). On the other hand, governmental, non-governmental, international and universities bodies' experts in the region have the opportunity to pass on their knowledge and to give their active contribution to the mentioned reforms. It led to the creation of an expert regional group that became active, recognisable and available on wider level through this project. And, what is more important, some of the participants have become active lecturers and experts in certain fields related to their practice, so this fact can be taken as the real measure of the success of this project.
Considering the fact that this retraining is regional in character, with sessions held in different cities in the region, we can surely state that new bridges of co-operation and contacts are being established, as well as exchanging professional experiences, and that participants have the opportunity to get introduced to legal systems of neighbouring countries, which is contributing to the reconciliation processes as the main precondition for development of democracy and the rule of law in the region.
The second phase of the project from December 2002 to December 2003 was conceptually changed on the basis of evaluation forms filled in by participants after each session. During the first phase participants had the opportunity to be introduced, in general, to human rights issues in the period of 9 days for each school. Considering the fact that participants have full time jobs and that it is difficult for them to spend so many days in training, the duration of the seminars was shortened to 5 days which made them more intensive but didn't change the schedule planned by the project. Instead of one, there are now two seminars in each state per year. Also, there was a need to do themed seminars, so that every session deals with certain general theme, which represents improvement because it proves that general knowledge on human rights is not enough anymore to legal practitioners in the region and that they are seriously dealing with this issue so that there is now a need for certain, specific knowledge needed in their practice work.
This year we held 9 regional seminars:
• 12-16 March 2003 on subject: „Right to Fair Trial“- Belgrade
• 02-06 April 2003 on subject: „Right to Peaceful Enjoyment of Property “– Opatija
• 14-18 April 2003 on subject: „Prohibition of Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment“- Budva
• 21-25 May 2003 on subject: „Prohibition of Discrimination“– Sarajevo
• 04-08 June 2003 on subject: „Right to Freedom and Security and Right to Fair Trial“
• 25-29 June 2003 on subject: „Right to Fair Trial and Right to Peaceful Enjoyment of Property“- Sarajevo
• 17-21 September 2003 on subject: „Prohibition of Discrimination and Right of Minorities“– Budva
• 15-19 October 2003 on subject: „Right to Freedom and Security and Right to Fair Trial“
• 19-23 November 2003 on subject: „Economic, Social and Cultural Rights“– Belgrade
There were 24 representatives from the region in this order: 4 participants from the region and 12 from the country where the seminar is held, which means that during these 9 seminars there were 216 retrained lawyers.
It is evident from the evaluation forms that 94% of participants stated that gained knowledge and skills from the seminars were very useful to their further work. Participants also stated that these seminars gave them the opportunity to make a comparative analysis of legal systems in the region. Around 90% of them stated that seminars have fulfilled their expectations and that obtained knowledge and skills are very useful to their profession. Around 60% of them consider that it is possible to apply gained knowledge and skills in practice, 35% think that it depends on conditions, and 5% didn't answer this question. The answers to the question on what kind of obstacles can be met in implementation of the European Convention were as follows: working with conservative colleagues, national legislative not compatible with international standards, lack of legal instruments for the protection of human rights in certain countries in region etc. Around 85% of participants expressed a wish to continue with education in the field of human rights. Most of them expressed that they are pleased to have the opportunity to participate in these schools along with colleagues from the region, and the complete organisation of these sessions was rated as high-grade and professional from all partner organisations coordinators.
Based on these evaluation forms filled in by every one of the participants, this project was marked by donors as a very successful one and granted for the next year.
Protection of the Human Rights of Old Persons
At the end of 2003 the Centre started with the activities on “ Protection of the Human Rights of Elders” project. The project is realised in co-operation with the Centre for Human Rights University of Podgorica and the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights and Democracy Kosovo, and it is financially supported by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark-FRESTA programme.
The aim of this project is to research and present the condition of human rights of old persons in the form of a study, including their protection in mentioned countries and the region. The study will contain basic statistic information on the old population (over 60 years aged), overview of basic legislative regulations protecting their human rights, overview of areas where the violations of human rights are most evident, and overview of measures directed towards overcoming the current situation. During the next year as part of the project, there will be a public campaign which will try to raise the level of social awareness on human rights of old persons.
Project „Starting Parliamentary Assembly BH Library“
OIIB participated as a consultant in the project aimed at starting the parliamentary assembly BH library work. Its consultant team made a document “Suggestion of Initial Actions for Starting Parliamentary Assembly BH Library” which contains a list of tasks whose fulfilment is necessary for the establishment of a basic library system and its services. After accepting this document, the expert team has done two cycles of retraining for Library staff:
- STAFF RETRAINING – using METEL WIN software (one-week training for Parliamentary Assembly BH Library staff)
- STAFF RETRAINING – establishing Parliamentary Assembly BH Library database (training, supervision and consulting)
The project ended after fulfilment of mentioned cycles.
Tempus JEP – Development of the New Teaching Curricula
Human Rights Centre of the University of Sarajevo was a co-ordinator of a two-year TEMPUS project with the aim of supporting BH universities in their efforts on developing the curricula and improving their teaching in human rights field.
TEMPUS-PHARE Joint European project in developing human rights curricula in BH final evaluation meeting was held on 12 and 13 May 2001 in Sarajevo .
The evaluation on the project results, discussion on problems and their solving as well as long-term co-operation of all institutions that participated in the TEMPUS project in the field of development of human rights curricula were the main objectives of this meeting.
Study visits as part of this project were very successful, and reflexive information obtained from students was very positive. Tempus co-ordination team has announced student visits programmes in a number of different places which resulted in transparent and fair selection process. Most occurred problems were those of financial background (scholarships were inadequate to cover all travel and accommodation expenses) and a delicate question of recognition of studies abroad by BH universities.
But, even though there was a proactive approach (each faculty received a letter of announcement for this programme) the success of these teaching staff study visits was way bellow first expectations. One part of the problem was insufficient knowledge of foreign languages, but the main obstacle to successful implementation of this TEMPUS activity had a structural background. Essential part of this problem was the obligation of the potential candidates as lecturers at their faculty. Having in mind the significance of these study visits in the frame of measures for additional education of teaching staff anticipated for setting forth new subject activities and teaching in near future, this inadequate realisation of these visits has additional negative implications.
Considering the fact that Human Rights doesn't exist as autonomous subject at faculties, the interest of potential candidates for this yet nonexistent subject was more difficult to explain in the traditional university hierarchy system. In other words, the lack of specific subject named Human Rights in university curricula represents serious obstacle for the candidates to do this kind of study visit.
Having in mind the abovementioned, the aim of study visits as such in the sense of training staff who will then be involved in the process of creation and implementation of adequate human rights curricula is seriously handicapped. The Faculty of Criminology is to be mentioned as one of the rare positive examples where human rights exists as specific and autonomous subject and where study visits were accepted for the purpose of training the teaching staff.
The curricula development and human rights courses – One of the reason for which seminars on curricula development didn't justify expectations in general was the lack of detailed information on curricula necessities at each faculty. The essential condition that is to be fulfilled in order to have successful seminars is participation of different universities and institutions that would create critical mass of important persons with the aim of realisation of necessary changes.
Still, human rights courses for students have resulted in much positive experience. In this sense, important subsidiary of TEMPUS programme was the fact that students were introduced to different teaching methodologies. But of course, it is clear that human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina shouldn't be exclusively taught by foreign but primarily by domestic professors.
In accordance with that, one of the main challenges in future will be to identify potential teaching staff. There were a large number of students interested in work in this field that occurred at numerous human rights courses. One of the main conclusions was that human rights are a subject that needs to be approached from various different perspectives and therefore lecturers should not be exclusively lawyers. For example, 70% of students of the Post-graduate Regional Human Rights and Democracy Studies in South-East Europe (programme in joint organisation of universities in Sarajevo and Bologna ) don't have education in law. Unfortunately, it is still impossible for a person who is not a lawyer to get a job as a human rights teacher at faculties of law in BH.
An additional and important problem were difficulties occurred due to recent curricula changing at faculties. For the lack of specific subject named Human Rights some professors interested in this field have tried to integrate it in some other and already existing subject such as Theory of Law, Constitutional Law and History of Law. Although there were some protests inside university, this has developed a good practice. Human rights should be present within the entire education system and not just at some faculties. Especially it is emphasised that human rights should be integrated in various subjects but also offered as specific subject to students interested in such specialisations
Institutionalising Ethnic Diversity in (Post-) Conflict Situations - University of Graz
The purpose of the project is to study the consolidation of peace and democracy in South - East Europe which requires institutions, accommodating ethnic diversity and manage ethno-political conflicts before they escalate into violence. However, the divided societies of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Federal Republic of Yugoslavia demonstrate that domestic political elites have been unwilling or that they are unable to preserve and to reconstruct such institutions. The failures of reconciling ethnic differences in the countries of the region renew and reinforce the question of how to create functioning institutions of interest representation, mediation and integration in order to accommodate ethnic diversity.
In sum, what is missing is interdisciplinary research on institution building beyond the state and territory centred approaches, a conceptual link with the political, cultural and economic effects of various legal instruments of minority protection and the development of inter-state and sub-state mechanisms and institutional devices for conflict prevention.
"Justice, Accountability and Social Reconstruction – University of California
The Human Rights Centre together with the Departments of Psychology of the Universities of Zagreb and Novi Sad joined the University of California, Berkeley Human Rights Centre and the International Human Rights Law Clinic three years research project named " Justice, Accountability and Social Reconstruction in the aftermath of genocide in former Yugoslavia and Rwanda ".
The aim of this project is to help and support national and international efforts to promote justice, accountability and reconstruction in the region through rebuilding the communities and human rights in the aftermath of genocide and communal violence. During the three-year period of the grant the HRC of the University of Berkeley and its local partners will (1) work with the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia to make its work more relevant to affected communities; (2) conduct studies in the highly-conflicted cities of Mostar and Vukovar which will examine attitudes towards justice and reconciliation and their expression in daily life and culture; (3) strengthen the capacity of the NGOs which are working in these cities to rebuild their divided communities based on respect for human rights and the rule of law; (4) conduct two nation-wide studies in Bosnia: one study will examine the role education has played in fostering communal violence, and the second will explore the attitudes of Bosnian judges regarding local war crimes investigations and those conducted by the ICTY.
Human Rights University Centres in South-East Europe Network – HRC NET
Human Rights Centre of the University of Sarajevo is a regional co-ordinator of “Establishment and Networking of Human Rights Centres in former Yugoslavia countries” project supported by the European Commission and requested by the Austrian World University Service. Goal of this two-year project is to open similar centres at universities in Banjaluka, Mostar, Priština and Podgorica as well as to form contact offices for human rights at universities in Skopje, Zagreb and Belgrade. Taking the Human Rights Centre of the University of Sarajevo model that appeared as a successful one, newly opened centres should be able to give services such as library and documentation, education, trainings and research work as well as co-ordination between domestic and international human rights partners' activities. The academic capacity for work in the field of human rights is to be established and necessary staff will be developed in order to promote human rights and democracy.
Protection of Human Rights of Old Persons
The Centre has continued with activities on “Protection of Human Rights of Old Persons” project at the beginning of 2004. The project was realized in cooperation of Human Rights Centre University of Podgorica and the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights and Democracy Kosovo, and financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark – FRESTA programme.
The aim of the project was to research and present in form of a study the condition of human rights of old persons and their protection in mentioned countries and the region. This published study contained statistic data on old population (over 60 year aged), the overall view of basic legal regulations protecting their human rights, the overall view of areas where there are most evident violations of human rights and review of measures directed towards overcoming of current situation. The results of regional project were promoted at seminar named “Regional Seminar on Protection of Human Rights of Old Persons” held in Igalo from 30 April-1 May 2004. There were two distributions of educative material on human rights (textbook “Human Rights Reader-book”, “Human Rights of Old Persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina ” study and a pamphlet with basic information on human rights system in Bosnia and Herzegovina ) during the project. All pensioners' associations at different state levels in entire Bosnia and Herzegovina were involved in distribution. Public campaign that aimed through various media to raise the level of social consciousness in human rights of old persons issue was realized as a part of this project.
The development of Human Rights Centre University of Sarajevo
With the financial support of British Embassy International Development Department in Sarajevo this project was realised in the period from February to July 2004. The main aim of the project was the support and improvement of education and dissemination of information on human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina , especially in high-level education.
Project activities were directed towards the analysis of current Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies post-graduate studies curricula, and defining a list of scientific literature necessary for successful work of mentioned studies. Human Rights Centre expert team has defined a list of around 250 necessary publications. Given means were enough to buy 223 publications. Received literature was elaborated and set in library collection. Public promotion of the project held in October 2004 gathered British Embassy and University of Sarajevo representatives.
Constitutional Reform Process in Bosnia and Herzegovina
In the last two years various social agents, politicians, journalists, members of academic community, non-governmental bodies activist and citizens use the phrase “constitutional reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina” so often and in different contexts that it seems like the key question, in short: “What does Constitutional reforms in BH
phrase really mean?”, is totally pushed away from the public scene and almost forgotten. As far as we all know there isn't any consistent material presented to the public that would offer on overview of development of the processes of the “Constitutional Reforms” nor are we familiar with results of any study that would at least give a hint of empirically identified trends that would lead to a better understanding of these processes. For the full text of the study click here
Development of Human Rights Library
Using funds of Canadian International Development Agency, the Canadian Embassy has decided to finance Human Rights Centre University of Sarajevo project named “ Development of Human Rights Library ”. Project activities started 15 February 2005 and ended 15 August 2005. As a part of the project there will be an analysis of chosen domestic and international curricula in human rights education, and research of needs of professors, students and experts in human rights, democracy and similar fields for expert literature. Based on these researches a list of necessary domestic and foreign publications to be collected, elaborated and set in Human Rights Centre University of Sarajevo library collection will be created.
„You're Right“is a regional project with participation of partner organisations from Serbia and Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina (Belgrade Centre for Human Rights Youth Group, Youth Information Agency, Human Rights Centre University of Sarajevo etc.). The project is financially supported by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs through FRESTA CCI (Cross-cutting initiatives) programme.
The aim of the project is creating, printing and distribution of a guide for high-school students through the legal systems of Serbia and Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina . This guide is to be issued in three copies, one for Serbia , one for Montenegro and one for Bosnia and Herzegovina , and is to be distributed to all high-school students attending final years at their schools. The Human Rights Centre has gathered, as a part of the project, a team of lawyers from the University of Sarajevo to work on research and representation of legal system in Bosnia and Herzegovina .
Human Rights of Disabled Persons
„Human Rights of Disabled Persons“is a regional project realised in co-operation with Belgrade Centre for Human Rights and Croatian Helsinki Human Rights Committee. Balkan Human Rights Network has arranged financial support as a part of FRESTA initiative. Realisation of this one-year project started in July 2004.
The aim of the project is to ensure the creation, printing and distribution of a publication analysing the state human rights of disabled persons in Croatia , Serbia , Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina . Expert teams from each country will do an analysis of legal frame for the protection of human rights of this imperilled group and do separate reports on condition of human rights of this group in each participating country. Special attention will be devoted to creation of clear and recognisable legal and social nature suggestions whose enactment and implementation could contribute to improvement of current situation of human rights of disabled persons. This publication will be promoted in public throughout the region and distributed to all governmental and non-governmental organisations working on the protection of human rights of disabled persons.
Woman at an Economic and Social Crossroad
This project is implemented by the Human Rights Centre of the University of Podgorica and Human Rights Centre of the University of Sarajevo with the financial support of Balkan Human Rights Network. The aim of this project is to be involved in actual efforts directed towards improvement of position of women in realising their economic and social rights. Three television shows and a research (polling) including 3000 women is planned to be realised as part of the project.
Annual Report on Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Having in mind human rights context, contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina is facing several challenges such as building up a human rights culture and awareness; a lack of effective legal remedies for human rights abuses; the lack of a comprehensive system of a fully independent judiciary and skilful and efficient law enforcement agencies, etc. The HRC Sarajevo believes that introduction of the first comprehensive annual human rights report is absolutely needed for addressing the above mentioned human rights challenges. The report will be detailed overview of theory and practice of human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It will help to identify crucial human rights issues and to develop policies for their effective resolution.
The HRC Sarajevo believes that introduction of annual human rights report (the first comprehensive human rights report in Bosnia and Herzegovina) is important and of a great interest to all human rights organizations (national and international) as well as to the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina and number of international agencies. The report, containing public opinion surveys on human rights, will monitor government activities, but also outline the targets for the future activities of the civil sector.
The objectives of the project are:
- To monitor and report on the human rights situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina through a comprehensive overview of human rights abuses, violations, methods of protection and respect for human rights, from the legislative, practical and citizens’ perspective and to disseminate information and impart knowledge about human rights.
- To inform, educate and influence public officials, civil servants, police officers, representatives of government bodies, MPs and other officials about basic human rights guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) and to raise awareness of the need to improve the quality of the rights of the citizens.
- To disseminate knowledge about international and European human rights standards among NGO’s and increase their sensitivity to human rights violations at the Bosnia and Herzegovina level.
- To increase the level of protection of human rights among the national, entity, cantonal, municipal and district courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina through the promotion of human rights and education on ECHR.
- To raise awareness about human rights among citizens which are recognized to be the most violated.
- To identify the common problems in the enjoyment, protection and promotion of the human rights culture in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- To create fertile ground for unified methodology of human rights research, analyzing and comparing the trends in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Producing a report that identifies trends on the basis of which optimal decisions of future intervention areas can be made.
- To create domestic human rights experts base capable for human rights monitoring and reporting in accordance to highest European and international (UN) standards.
Foreseen project activities are:
- Preparatory seminar
- Human Rights Reporting Methodology Seminar
- Research and analysis
- Public opinion survey
- Editing and compiling Annual Report on Human Rights
- Design, printing and distribution of the Annual Human Rights Report
- Public promotion
Project duration will be from November 2007 till March 2009. Its target groups will be general populatio (citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina) and human rights expert group. However, the project will have a numerous national and international beneficiaries such as state institutions, MPs, parliamentary commissions, executive bodies, NGOs, traditional associations of citizens, international agencies in Bosnia and HErzegovina (Office of the High Representative, OSCE, UNDP, World Bank, etc.), UN committees, international NGOs, etc.
Balkan Human Rights Network Web Site
This project financed by the Balkan Human Rights Network has as a goal improvement and development of existing Balkan Human Rights Network web presentation. Human Rights Centre is responsible for the implementation of this one-year project. The main intention of this project is to make existing web presentation a unique information resource which would provide fast and simple approach to all relevant information on human rights in international, regional, and national level. Web site will be a modern information service based upon the usage of modern information technology and it will be at Balkan Human Rights Network disposal primarily, but also available for the public.
Guardians of Rights
Guardianship over adults is a protective measure over people who were deprived of their legal capacity because of their inability to independently take care of their rights and interests due to the illness or mental retardation. All the decisions and actions concerning rights and interests of these people (wards) are taken by their substitute decision makers – guardians. They can be directed toward ward's property, as well as toward his/her personal rights. Guardianship over incapacitated adults has always been one of the least explored areas of the family law and of the protection of the people with disabilities. Legal provisions are vague and live much room for different interpretations. In addition, there is no more legal obligation of the guardianship organ (administrative body which is authorized to appoint, monitor and supervise guardians) to introduce guardians to their duties by educating them on their duties and rights. All this gave Human Rights Centre of the University of Sarajevo (together with its partners Belgrade Centre for Human Rights and Croatian Helsinki Committee) a strong reason to start the “Guardians of Rights” project which would give directions to the persons involved in guardianship how to conduct their duties in accordance with the international standards of human rights.
The goal of the project is to train the decision makers in the process to implement internationally recognized standards of human rights in general and in the field of protection of incapable adults. Further, the goal of the project is to train representatives of the NGOs dealing with the disability issues to provide assistance to the persons involved in the guardianship (especially to the guardians and their wards), and to empower them to monitor their work. The participants of the seminar will be both government officials as well as the members of the non-governmental organizations dealing with disability issues. Therefore, second long term project goal is cooperation of the two sectors in the field of protection of incapacitated adults.
The main project activities are: 1. training courses – the education shall be conducted through the three 3 day long intensive courses ( Serbia and Montenegro , Bosnia and Herzegovina , Croatia ). Participants of these courses will be judges from the Non-Contestant Procedure Departments of the municipal courts, representatives of the Centres for Social Affairs, social workers from the Centres for Social Affairs and representatives of local NGOs dealing with the disability issues. 2. publication of the booklet – the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights shall translate Council of Europe Recommendation R (99) 4 on Principles Concerning the Legal Protection of Incapable Adults and the UN Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. These two documents shall be published along with the integral translation of the European Convention on Human Rights with protocols. The publication shall be primarily used as a course material.
Human Rights Centre of the University of Sarajevo has organised a seminar within this project held from May 17 to May 19, 2007 in Sarajevo. (Presentations and report from this seminar will be available soon).
to see the full text of the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
to see UN Standard Rules regarding protection of the rights of persons with disabilities.
to see EU Recommendation R(99)04 regarding protection of persons with disabilities.
Click here to see Explanatory Memorandum on EU Recommendation R(99)04.
Human Rights Centre, together with its project partners, has organised a regional conference on October 19, 2007 in Sarajevo. Participants of the conference were representatives of non-governmental organisations of persons with disabilities and representatives of relevant ministries from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia. Basing on international human rights standards, and especially those related to protection of rights of persons with disabilities, this conference aimed at making an overview of current status of this field in national legislative of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia, and to introduce relevant structures in the field of protection of the rights of persons with disabilities on possibilities and potentials of implementation of UN Convention on Rights of Persons With Disabilities.
Respecting the initiative of human rights organisations directed towards providing support to organisations of persons with disabilities and hoping that cooperation of mentioned ones will continue in future, participants of regional conference "Guardians of Rights" suggested following conclusions as directions for future work:
1. It is necessary to put efforts to translate, sign and ratify the International Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia in as short term as possible;
2. It is necessary to influence for the Convention to be in full sense implemented in real life in all three countries participating in the project;
3. Media are invited to involve in largest sense in tracking the thematics and problems of persons with disabilities;
4. It is necessary to unite efforts of civil society on joint work to improve position of all persons with disabilities with respect of all differences;
5. To insist on building knowledge through education of all social factors dealing with persons with disabilities (state officials, judiciary, medical experts, media, NGOs and families of persons with disabilities, as well as persons with disabilities themselves);
6. Really include persons with disabilities (with special emphasis on persons deprived of their legal capacity) as one of the basic human rights has to become common practice of work of relevant state institutions in countries in the region;
7. Local communities should take the largest level of responsibility for improvement of quality of life of persons with disabilities;
8. Harmonising terminology standards is a precondition for better view on the problem.
As part of this project, Human Rights Centre has published publication "Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Legal Capacity" (available only in B/H/S). The aim of this publication is to provide an overeview of rights of persons with disabilities deprived of their legal capacity as well as give an insight to basic documents needed for the procedure of deprivation of returning the legal capacity.
Platform Bosnia and Herzegovina , phase II-Contribution to Constitutional Reform - (July 01, 2005 – December 31, 2007)
It is our great pleasure that successful cooperation between the Human Rights Centre of the University of Sarajevo and Swiss Development Agency (SDC) in Bosnia and Herzegovina is continuing through realisation of “Platform Bosnia and Herzegovina, Phase II: Contribution to Constitutional Reform” project. It is planned that the implementation of the project comes to realisation in the period from July 01, 2006 to December 31, 2007. The main aim of this project is support to the constitutional changes process in B-H. In this project the Human Rights Centre of the University of Sarajevo is responsible for entire project organisation, implementation and administration.
This project represents the second phase of already realised “Platform Bosnia and Herzegovina, Phase I” project whose aim was to reach out to B-H public through organising ten round tables on the subject “Future of B-H Constitution” throughout the country as well as through debates between youth and government representatives, academic panel discussions, publishing articles about constitutional debate in national newspapers, financing international research conference on constitutional reform, support of local research project about constitution and publishing local publication on constitutional reform. Wide, but still fragile network of constitutional reform actors supported by all social circles was established as the result of these activities.
The objectives of the second phase are the same as those in the first phase:
- sustainable sensitivity of wider audience, as permanent process that needs to be kept up and firmed;
- support to local actors in constitutional reforms;
- support to creation of network of actors dealing with constitutional issues.
Specific project activities are organising panel-discussions, workshops, supplements to studies and expertise as well as media actions as follows:
1. Panel-discussions at municipal and regional level conducted by local partner organisations (youth organisations, refugees' organisations, civil society associations etc.) with the aim to make public more sensitive on this issue as well as suggesting concrete suggestions for constitutional changes. It is necessary to invite expert from Switzerland according to the subject (politician, scientist).
2. Workshops: elaborating concrete themes related to municipalities with selected experts in this field, and with representatives of civil society at municipal level and representatives of municipalities. Result: concrete suggestions for constitutional changes that will be further discussed at round tables and be able to gain majority (through political parties, representatives of parliament and municipal associations). If the subject requires, international expert could be invited to take part in this.
3. Study and expertise: orders to local institutions for study clarification and elaboration (duration 1 to 2 weeks) on the subject of constitutional changes development, concrete key subjects of constitutional reform related to municipality, preparation of themes for workshops, inclusion of wider audience in constitutional reform (for example, constitutional advices including youth, civil society, minority groups etc.). If the subject requires, it will be necessary to provide „backstopping” from some Swiss organisation.
4. Media actions: media evaluation of panel-discussions and workshops in form of informative or documentary show as well as radio and TV-round tables on chosen subject. Articles on discussions published in newspapers. These activities are for dissemination of the results from dialogue on constitutional changes in public.
The experience from the first phase has shown that starting situation in constitutional debate can change rapidly. Therefore, the “rolling” plan has appears as suitable one for the second phase.
“Platform Bosnia and Herzegovina , Phase II” project will be implemented with cooperation of other donor organisations as well as local and international initiatives.
Publications with articles from research and expertise, workshops and panel-discussions
Strengthening networks with different associations interested in constitutional issues (among them civil society organisations, civil movements, youth organisations, Think-Thank-organisations etc.)
Concrete suggestions for new articles of the constitution on the level of civil rights and relation municipality-state
Swiss visibility in general and our cooperation programme should be maintained
Strengthening of Bosnian-Swiss partnership – Swiss as a facilitator of dialogue and elaboration of constitutional reforms lead by Bosnian side
Study and expertise:
Balkan Investigative Reporting Network Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIRN BiH) is one the partners involved in this project component responsible for implementation of the project “Reporting on Constitutional Changes”. The aim of the project is to produce and widely disseminate twenty in-depth analyses and reports about the progress of the constitutional reform, encouraging cross-community dialogue and strengthening civil society institutions.
Media coverage of held workshops in “Nezavisne novine” and other BH media (FTV, Hayat, TVSA, BHT ) Newsletter “Constitutional Changes Monitor” an electronic weekly review of media reporting on the process of constitutional changes in B-H, published and edited in the organization of the Human Rights Centre of the University of Sarajevo (distribution is continuous process and currently there are 183 addresses receiving this newsletter)
First two workshops joint in one were held on November 18, 2006 in Sarajevo . Themes covered by these workshops were “Constitutional Changes in B-H and Human Rights” and “Constitutional Changes and Local Self-government in B-H”. (click here to see the report)
Workshop “Constitutional Changes and Local Development in B-H” was held on December 15, 2006 in Banja Luka. (click here to see the report)
Workshop "European Union and Constitutional Changes in Service of Local Development" was held on February 10th, 2007 in Mostar.
Activities of the Centre and project partners:
Human Rights Centre of the University of Sarajevo (coordinator of the entire project)
1. Constitutional Changes and Human Rights
2. Constitutional Changes and Local Self-government
3. Constitutional Changes and Local Development
4. European Union and Constitutional Changes in Service of Local Development in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Total number of 55 citizens of BiH has participated at workshops held in Sarajevo, Banja Luka and Mostar. Citizens had the chance to hear presentations of experts on the subject of constitutional issues. The focus of the workshops was esecially at link of constitution and constitutional changes with issues of local community.
· Electronic bulletin “Constitutional Changes Monitor” (weekly review of printed media reporting on constitutional changes in BH) which is being distributed to 200 electronic addresses on weekly basis and is bilingual publication (in Bosnian and English).
· Translation of book “We, Citizens of Ethnopolis”, author Asim Mujkić in English – the book explains socio-political context of BiH society. The book is translated to English and intended for representatives of international community with the aim of better understanding of reality of Bosnian society.
· „Constitutional Reform Resource Centre“ – special section within library of the Centre containing collection on constitution and constitutional changes
· Publishing publication “Constituent Peoples and Constitutional Changes”, author Zarije Seizović – publication analyses the principle of “constituent peoples” and its meaning, at the same time providing suggestion for possible changes of BiH Constitution putting citizen as individual and not exclusively as collective into picture. Publication is published in two languages – Bosnian and English.
· Publishing publication ““Gender Equality“ and Constitutional Changes: Is It an Issue?”, author Bergin Kulenović – publication analyses BiH constitution from the perspective of gender equality. Publication is published in two languages – Bosnian and English.
· Organising 10 panel discussions on constitutional changes in following cities: Banja Luka, Brčko, Bihać, Drvar, Istočno Sarajevo, Prijedor, Mostar, Stolac, Foča and Sarajevo. Around 40 citizens in average participated at each panel discussion.
ATV Banja Luka
· Documentary movie on constitutional changes in BH
Association of Refugees and displaced Persons BH (SIRL BiH)
Within project “Constitutional Changes Through Redefinition of Concept of Implementation of Annex VII of the General Peace Agreement for BH” realised following activities:
· Organising 6 round tables in Sarajevo, Bosanski Brod, Banja Luka, Mostar, Zvornik and Drvar, and three additional local community meetings in Foča, Stolac and Banja Luka. Topics of round tables were mainly focused to issues of non-implementation of Annex VII of Dayton Peace Agreement and issues of relation of constitutional provisions to problematic that refugees and displaced persons are dealing with in general. Special attention was paid to the problem of non-establishing of Commission for refugees and displaced persons and Property Fund which is envisaged in Constitution.
· Monitoring work of Parliamentary Assembly on issues regarding refugees and displaced persons.
Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN)
Within project “Reporting on Constitutional Changes” published following reports:
· Bosnia: Constitutional Changes Setback (January 25, 2007)
· Bosniak Returnees Allege Mistreatment in RS Hospitals (March 14, 2007)
· Comment: No More Failed Experiments in Bosnia (March 29, 2007)
· Washington Summit Aims to Revive Bosnia’s Reforms (May 24, 2007)
· Brcko Left on Sidelines in Bosnia Constitution Talks (July 04, 20079
· President's Death Exposes Flaws of RS Constitution (Deceber 20, 2007)
· Judging the Judges (December 20, 2007)
· BiH Citizens Mull New Constitution (December 20, 2007)
· Constitution Taken to Court (December 20, 2007)
· New Round of Constitutional Talks Start (December 20, 2007)
Youth Association “Luna”, Rudo
Within project “Youth in BH and BH Constitution” following activities:
· Organised 5 panel discussions in Bijeljina, Šekovići, Trebinje, Rudo and Pale. Participants at panel discussions were mainly youth, representatives of NGOs who had the opportunity to express their opinion on constitutional changes and eventually give their suggestions for further action on this question.
· Organised 2 press conferences in Bijeljina with the aim to introduce public with the project, aims and activities of the project.
Alumni Centre for Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Studies (ACIPS)
Within project “European Movement for European Constitution”:
· Published publication “European Movement for European Constitution of BH”, authors Sead S. Fetahagić and Saida Mustajbegović. Publication analyses existing BiH Constitution and at the same time provides review of existing suggestions (domestic and international) for changes of Constitution.
· Oraganised 10 public debates for promotion of publicatin in following cities: Tuzla, Bihać, Mostar, Ljubuški, Bijeljina, Doboj, Banja Luka, Brčko, Zenica and Sarajevo. Total number of 188 citizens participated at debates (the number varied from town to town, for example in Bihać there were 62 citizens present and in Ljubuški 9). Debates have shown that citizens are still not acquainted enough with constitutional changes and their meaning for life of common citizen.
Student eFM radio
Within project “Constitutional Changes Radio Programme” broadcasted:
· Serial of 17 radio shows dedicated to constitutional changes titled “Iznad zakona” (“Above Law”). Topics:
Show No1 – Basic on Constitution
Show No2 – BH Constitution
Show No3 – BH Constitution – Constitutional Institutions
Show No4 – BH Constitution – Human Rights
Show No5 – Relation Between Constitution and Local Community
Show No6 – Constitution and Citizen
Show No7 – Constitutional Changes as Process I
Show No8 – Constitutional Changes as Process II
Show No9 – Constitutional Changes and Citizen
Show No10 – Constitutional Changes and Local Community
Show No11 – Constitutional Changes and Human Rights
Show No12 – Constitutional Changes and BH Parliament
Show No13 – Constitutional Changes and Refugees and Displaced Persons
Show No14 – April Set of Constitutional Changes
Show No15 – Domestic Suggestions of Constitutional Changes
Show No16 – International Community and Constitutional Changes
Show No17 – Future of Constitutional Changes in BH
By the half of January 2008 there were total of 16839 listenings of the shows through internet. More than 50% of listeners was from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Radio shows were conceptually designed in such way to explain key terms related to constitution and constitutional changes in BiH and to represent citizens of BiH the thematics of constitutional changes in simple manner.
Youth Informative Agency (OIA)
Within project “Youth and Constitutional Changes – TV Shows” broadcasted:
· 3 TV shows “Niđe veze” (“No Sense”) within which there were broadcasted 3 video materials on constitutional changes and youth opinion on the same
· 27 four minutes long features “BE HA TE MLADI” (“BHT YOUTH”) which include youth opinion on constitutional changes
Association of Young Lawyers in BH
Within project “Role of Students and Youth in constitutional Changes Debate in BH” organised round tables and public debates on constitutional changes. Participants were mainly university students and youth. There were 5 panel discussions/debates with youth and students organised in Zenica, Banja Luka, Prijedor, Brčko and Mostar. Total number of 115 students and young people from these cities participated at debates. Conclusions brought at these debates have been used for elaboration of suggestions directed from youth to BiH politicians relating to changes of BiH constitution. Also, within the project a final round table at BiH Parliamentary Assembly was held.
Initiative for Reconciliation in Dayton Triangle: Young Leaders in dialogue process, cooperation, trust and overcoming the past
This project aims to support the process of reconciliation in the Dayton Triangle (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia ). It is planned that three group of young leaders, future decision makers from these countries participate at three five days duration seminars in Belgrade, Zagreb and Sarajevo. Each seminar will have focus on the subject of reconciliation process in the region, constructive dialogue with the intention to overcome the past.
Belgrade Centre for Peace and Democracy Development, Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights and Human Rights Centre of the University of Sarajevo will realise this project as partners.
The first seminar was held in Belgrade from 15th to 20th June, 2006, as planned. The Centre for Human Rights, as project coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina , has gathered and sent team of ten young politicians from several political parties and non-governmental organisations.
The seminar in Zagreb was held in March 2007. Human Rights Centre organised participation of ten young politicians from all the main political parties from the entire territory of B &H, as well as several lecturers:
Vehid Sehic, Citizens' Forum Tuzla: Political frame: relationship of the states in the region and international influence
Mirhunisa Zukic, Association of refugees and displaced persons B&H : open questions: return
Nebojsa Savija, Reconciliation possibilities: xenophobia, shovinism, hate speech in the region
Next seminar is to be held in Sarajevo by the end of this year.
Human Rights and Rights of Minorities in the Frame of Ethnic Conflict Cycle (MIRICO)
MIRICO is European Commission FP6 project started with the meeting of partners in Bolzano , Italy in May 2006. The aim of the project is the analysis of the condition of human rights, including rights of minorities, and their influence on ethnic conflicts. The analysis will include the whole cycle of conflict, starting from the phase directly before the start of the conflict, the course of conflict to phases of reconciliation and reconstruction. The process of development of European Union foreign policy and shifting from reactive crisis management to regional stabilisation and association will be analysed in parallel with EU accession. Taking the Western Balkans for example the aim is to develop the concept that would balance individual human rights and collective rights related to minorities and to try to find the way to take into consideration ethnical and cultural diversity in the process of reconstruction of stabile state and civil, multiethnic societies. On one side, the project will produce conceptual frame for countries with this issue and on the other, is will provide the suggestion for EU to react in more coherent and effective way in the cases of ethnic conflict and to become visible actor in global security scene.
The project partners are:
European Academy in Bolzano (coordinator)
University of Graz
University of Frankfurt
University of Köln
Institute for Ethnic Studies, Ljubljana
London Business School
University of Bath
Belgrade Human Rights Centre
Human Rights Centre Priština
Human Rights Centre University of Sarajevo
Meeting in Belgrade held from 25-27 January 2007 was the first one within the project. During this meeting first drafts of national reports were considered.
First B&H report titled ""Ethno-mobilisation and Organised Production of Violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina - Conscious Preparations" was written by:
Nerzuk Curak (Faculty of Political Science), Nermina Sarcic (Faculty of Political Science), Sead Turcalo (Faculty of Political Science) i Zarije Seizovic (University in Zenica ).
Conference in Sarajevo was held from 12-13 July 2007 at the Bosniak Institute.During this conference first national reports on the pre conflict phase in former Yugoslavia were presented to the wider public. Drafts of second reports were considered during the workshop and deadline was set for their final versions. An additional conference was agreed for senior researchers to take place by the end of the year. Cooperation was established with Cirdozo Law School from New York. Date was set for the next conference in Cologne in February 2008. Conference was covered by local media (follow this link to article published on Sarajevo X: http://www.sarajevo-x.com/clanak/070712073).
Second B&H report titled "Conflict Settlement in Bosnia: Unbearable Lightness of Ethno-political Being" was written by:
Dino Abazovic (Faculty of Political Science) and Zarije Seizovic (University in Zenica).
Third B&H report titled "Reconstruction and Reconciliation in Bosnia: Human Rights and Human Wrongs in the State and Nation Building Processes" was written by:
Asim Mujkić (FPN), Zarije Seizović (Univerzitet u Zenici) i Dino Abazović (FPN).
To see all country reports written by now please reffer to following link:
Human Security in Western Balkans: the Influence of Trans-national Terrorist and Criminal Organisations on the Peace Development Process in the Region (HUMSEC)
HUMSEC is European Commission FP6 project which aims to contribute to better understanding of the relationship between trans-national terrorist groups and criminal organisations in the western Balkans and their role in the process of peace development in region. The project has officially started with the meeting in Graz , in May 2006, where all members of the consortium have participated, and expected duration of the project is three years. The project will enable network of scientists working on this issue and it will enrich dialogue between scientists from European Union and western Balkans. All countries from the region are participating in this project, with the exception of Macedonia .
The project anticipates several types of activities including workshops, business meetings, summer academies and annual conferences as well as web page creation and publication of various types of scientific papers.
Partners will work in three working groups (WP 2, 3 and 4) that will focus their work on one of the subjects within the project.
Connection between trans-national terrorist and criminal organisations in the western Balkans
Influence of trans-national terrorist and criminal organisations on the state and society
Influence of trans-national terrorist and criminal organisations on the process of peace development in region
University of Tilburg
Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
Belgrade Centre for Human Rights
Max Plank Institute
Danish Centre for International Studies and Human Rights
University of Ljubljana
University of Montenegro
University of Pristina
University of Cardiff
Human Rights Centre of the University of Sarajevo
Portuguese Institute for International Relations and Security
University of Toulouse
University of Graz
University of Zagreb
University of Shkoder
The Centre has sent one candidate to summer school on the subject of human security with the focus on the connection between trans-national terrorist and criminal organisations in western Balkans, held in Graz from 28 th August to 6 th September, as it was planned by project. One candidate has been engaged to write scientific paper for first annual conference held in Ljubljana in November 2006.
During the 2007 most activities concerned WP3 with the main aim being organisation of the second Annual Conference in Sarajevo 4-6 October.
The Human Rights Centre participated in the workshop held in Becici, Montenegro, from 26-28 April 2007. During the meeting the next annual conference to take place in Sarajevo (October 2007) was discussed as well as the upcoming Summer Academy in Graz (July 2007). Paper applications were considered and a number was chosen to be presented in Sarajevo. Amel Fako of the USA Embassy in Sarajevo was one of the candidates whose paper titled “ The Role of External actors in fight against trafficking in person in BiH ” was presented at the conference.
In July 2007 Human Rights Centre sent two lecturers to attend Summer Academy in Graz: Miroslav Zivanovic (Human Rights Centre) and Drew Engel (Court of B&H, Head of Department for organised crime and corruption).
Conference was held from 4-6 October 2007 in Sarajevo.
The Human Rights Centre participated in the workshop held in Lisbon, Portugal, from 18-19 April 2008. During the meeting next annual conference to take place in Belgrade (October 2008) was discussed as well as administrative issues.
Human Rights Retraining for Lawyers in the Countries of the Former Yugoslavia
HR-undervisning for jurister fra Det tidligere Jugoslavia
This regional project has been implemented since 2002. Participating organisations from the SEE Region that jointly planned and implement the project are: the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights ( Serbia ), the Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights ( Croatia ), the Human Rights Centre of the University in Sarajevo ( Bosnia and Herzegovina ), the Human Rights Action ( Montenegro ) and the FORUM-Centre for Strategic Research and Documentation ( Macedonia ) . Ms. Gro Hillestad-Thune, Norwegian human rights adviser , is the main international resource person in this project. Partner organisations continueously co-operate with other national/international organisations involved in similar initiatives in the region (CoE, UNDP, UNHCHR, OSCE, Supreme courts and National Judicial Training Centres - JTCs).
This project aims to improve and provide for more effective human rights training methods and to increase practical usefulness of the previous training programmes. Also, equally important, is the possibility of providing for the opportunity to the participants from the region to meet each other and counter existing prejudices.
Target groups and direct beneficiaries of the project are legal professionals in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia, government officials involved in the reform of judiciary in the countries of the former Yugoslavia (officials from the Ministries of Justice, Ministries of Local Government, National Judiciary Training Institutions, Ombudsman's institutions, etc.) and human rights NGOs activists. The participants are receiving translated relevant materials (ECHR cases, decisions of treaty bodies, books, etc) before the seminars.
Project activities, from June 2006 till May 2007 were:
Three days training seminars
• Arrest/detention/imprisonment/prohibition of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, right to freedom and security (basic course), Budva, Montenegro, 14-16 September 2006
• Prohibition of discrimination (advance course), Lovran, Croatia, 5-7 October 2006
• Right to peaceful enjoyment of property/economic, social and cultural rights/corruption (advance course), Skopje , Macedonia, 19-21 October 2006
• Rights of vulnerable groups/domestic violence/protection of child and juvenile justice/trafficking of human beings (basic course), Belgrade, Serbia, 1-3 March 2007
• Right to fair trial/organised crime/derogations and restrictions of human rights (basic course), Sarajevo, BH, 29-31 March 2007
Supreme Courts Judges Meeting
• Experts dialogue meeting of the Supreme Courts judges from the region and Norway, Belgrade, Serbia, 27-28 April 2007
Evaluation meeting , Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 13-14 April 2007