On the eleventh of September 2017, we were honoured to host representatives of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina in facilities of SOC and enable them to meet local activists for human rights of LGBTI persons.
The meeting was organised with a goal to open a discussion about the progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina in protection and inclusion of its LGBTI citizens, as well as urgent and necessary steps on the path to the European Union. Khaldoun Sinno expressed his concern for the fact that young people, who, as a rule, are carriers of progressive ideas, in Bosnia and Herzegovina are unfortunately missing out on raising their voices and impacting on creating of a more favourable political and social environment. This is the first time that the representatives of the EU Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina are meeting with representatives of civil sector, as well as with activists for human rights of LGBTI persons, with a desire to get concrete answers to questions about achieving faster development of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the process of joining the European Union, how to raise consensuses about tolerance, despite the rise of fascist tendencies, and to promote respecting human rights. On the other side, activists have emphasized what has already been done, from introducing the amendment on Law on prohibition of discrimination which prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and sexual characteristics, to the initiative of coalition of civil sector organizations to answer the European Union questionnaire which was sent to the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They have emphasized, that this meeting is of exceptional importance, because it confirms a serious approach of the Delegation of the European union towards LGBTI human rights. The activists have also stressed the fact that Sarajevo open centre, as well as other organisations that work in field of LGBTI questions, have no access to a source of financing from state budget, which they believe indicates the positioning of political elites in relation to LGBTI community.
This is the first time that the Delegation of EU to BiH has approached an organisation of civil society in such a way, and engaged in a direct conversation with LGBTI activists. The activists have used the opportunity to talk about the key questions of Bosnia and Herzegovina Joining the European Union and share their thoughts with the Delegation about the obstacles and potentials of this process.
We hope that the cooperation with the EU Delegation will continue successfully in all fields.
Representatives of the EU Delegation on this meeting were:
Khaldoun Sinno – Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Olaf Deussen – political advisor of the Delegation of the European Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ajša Adrović-Bešlagić – program manager of the Delegation of the European Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sanne Tielemans – political advisor of the Delegation of the European Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina