The Council of Minister – the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina – adopted on its 36th Session (December 23th 2015) a draft law with amendments to the Anti-discrimination law. The draft law can be found on the following link.
If the law is adopted by the BiH Parliamentary Assembly, Bosnia and Herzegovina will become the second country in Europe which prohibits discrimination based on “sex characteristics”, protecting so intersex people. The draft law will also explicitly name sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds on which discrimination ins prohibited. In this way, the Anti-discrimination law will protect all lesbian, gay, bisex, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people of discrimination.
The draft law foresees also other improvements:
- Age and disability will be explicitly mentioned as grounds on which discrimination is prohibited:
- Discrimination based on a relation with a protected group will be prohibited;
- The definition of harassment and sexual harassment are improved;
- Victimization is defined as form of discrimination;
- Procedural aspects are better defined, providing better protection for the victim.
At the beginning of 2016 the draft law will be submitted to the Parliament. Once the parliamentary Joint Committee for Human Rights has taken an opinion on the law, the law will be submitted to parliamentary procedure. It needs to be adopted by both chambers of the Parliament.
The Sarajevo Open Centre, as one of leading advocacy human rights organization in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has taken active participation in this process. As the only civil society organization, we have prepared, published and promoted an analysis about the Alignment of the BiH Anti-discrimination law with EU acquis (beginning of 2015). In the summer 2015 our working group prepared concrete amendments to the Anti-discrimination law, which have been presented together with the BiH Agency for Gender Equality. The amendments have been presented to the Minister Semiha Borovac, the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees and the ministerial working group. In fall we have been part of public consultations and in close contact with the ministerial staff. Taking all into account, we are very proud that the Ministry has taken over some of our amendments and that those are part of the draft law which has been adopted by the BiH Council of Ministers. We will continue now working with MPs and once the law is adopted, we will continue promoting it, focusing especially on the protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics.
In the following links you may find relevant publications and press releases regarding this issue: