SARAJEVO / GENEVA (5 November 2012) – United Nations human rights expert Rashida Manjoo said that heightened domestic violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina is linked in many cases to the legacy of the war, and women and men suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and other war-related mental health problems as well as unemployment, poverty or addiction.
It is time the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina enacted its 2010 commitment to ensure justice, truth and reparation for hundreds of survivors of wartime sexual violence, Amnesty International said in a briefing published today.
"Nearly two decades after the end of the war, hundreds of women continue to live with the effects of rape and other forms of torture, without proper access to the medical, psychological and financial assistance they need to rebuild their shattered lives. Meanwhile, most of the perpetrators go unpunished," said Jezerca Tigani, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Programme Director.
Amnesty International is urging the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina to reject a draft law, prohibiting wearing in public, clothes which prevent identification which is set for debate tomorrow. “If adopted, such a law would violate the human rights of women who choose to wear a full face veil as an expression of their religious, cultural, political or personal identity or beliefs," said Marek Marczynski, Amnesty International’s researcher on Bosnia and Herzegovina. "It would violate their right to freedom of expression and religion. At the same time, a general ban on wearing full-face veils in public could result in some women being confined to their homes and unable to participate in public life.”
In 1950 Sarajevo's local parliament introduced a law to ban veils "with the aim of removing the centuries old tradition of oppressing the female population," but today many daughters and granddaughters of these women have put the hijab back on again.
After long negotiations with the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the necessary preparatory activities, the International Initiative for Visibility of Queer Muslims (IIVQM) has become legally recognised and registered as an NGO.