About us


Sarajevo Open Centre believes in a fair, democratic and inclusive society, based on equal rights and opportunities for all.


Sarajevo Open Centre is a civil society organization that works on advancing human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We initiate and create systemic social changes, emphasizing gender equality and position of LGBTI+ persons.

Key values and organisational culture

Integrity is our bedrock. It guides our organization’s ethical conduct, fosters trust, and enhances its capacity to drive meaningful change in society. By consistently upholding integrity, Sarajevo Open Centre not only aligns with the values it promotes but also sets a high standard for others to follow in the pursuit of equality and justice for women and LGBTI+ persons. Integrity as a feminist principle is central to maintaining our moral and ethical foundation.

Professionalism ensures that Sarajevo Open Centre is dedicated to women’s rights and LGBTI+ rights, and that it operates at the highest level of competency, integrity, and accountability. It enables the organization to navigate the complexities of advocacy, awareness, and change effectively, while also serving as a model for other stakeholders in the pursuit of equality and justice.

The value of quality in Sarajevo Open Centre underscores the commitment to excellence, effectiveness, and accountability in all aspects of its work. A quality-focused approach ensures that the organization not only advocates for change but also implements programs and services that have a lasting, positive impact on the lives of women and LGBTI+ persons, while maintaining the trust and support of stakeholders and partners. By embracing the principle of quality, Sarajevo Open Center as feminist organization aims to provide equitable, respectful, and comprehensive services to women and LGBTI+ persons. This approach not only respects individuals’ rights and dignity but also contributes to the broader goal of achieving equality and social justice.

Intersectionality as a feminist principle and organizational value is crucial for recognizing the complexity of oppression and for ensuring that advocacy efforts are truly inclusive and effective in addressing the needs of all persons, regardless of their intersecting identities. By acknowledging the intersections of various forms of discrimination, Sarajevo Open Centre can better advocate for the rights of all individuals, regardless of their diverse identities, and work towards a more just and equitable society.

Activism is the driving force that propels our organization’s mission. Through our work we empower individuals and agents of change to stand up for their rights, and challenge oppressive systems and norms. By being a catalyst for change and a voice for the marginalized, Sarajevo Open Centre can play a crucial role in advancing equality and justice for women and LGBTI+ persons in society. Activism is a fundamental feminist principle that involves taking action, advocating for change, and challenging the status quo to advance gender equality, women’s and LGBTI+ rights.

Solidarity as a feminist principle underscores the idea that progress towards gender equality, women’s and LGBTI+ rights is a shared endeavor. The value of solidarity reflects our commitment to working together with various stakeholders to create a more inclusive, equitable, and just society. By fostering collaboration, partnerships, and alliances Sarajevo Open Centre can better address the multifaceted challenges women and LGBTI+ persons experience and hence effect positive change on a broader scale.


Updated in January 2024 with the results achieved in the previous period (2021-2023)

Initiating and advocating legislative and policy proposals

  • We made amendments to the Criminal Code of FBiH to harmonize it with the Istanbul Convention and regulate hate speech based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  • SOC’s persistent efforts have yielded progress in advocating for legal recognition and rights protection of same-sex partnerships
  • In June 2023, the FBiH Government adopted a report on December 2022’s public debate and directed relevant ministries to form a working group for drafting the Law on same-sex partnerships in FBiH
  • An institutional dialogue on the legal status of same-sex unions in the Republic of Srpska was initiated
  • We submitted amendmentsto the Draft Law on Freedom of Assembly in the Canton of Sarajevo, with a focus on aligning with international standards and removing obstacles for LGBTI organizers of protests and gatherings
  • We established informal cooperation with various public cultural institutions and venues (Film Center Sarajevo, Bosnian Cultural Center, Youth Theater Sarajevo, Youth Center Skenderija, The National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina) despite the hesitation of many public spaces and institutions, and their refusal to provide space for LGBTIQ cultural and activist events. A Memorandum of Cooperation with the Sarajevo Academy of Performing Arts and the Historical Museum BiH has been signed to use their space for LGBTI events

Trans rights

  • We have created a supportive community of transgender people and their parents, nurturing their empowerment and actively including them in our advocacy efforts. Together, we make a real difference in the lives of these extraordinary individuals and their families
  • We are proud of the document we created for the relevant institutions, that contains models of legal gender recognition in accordance with the current legal provisions in BiH
  • We achieved collaboration with representatives from relevant ministries and institutions, including health, internal affairs, and human rights – important institutions in the advocacy process for the rights of trans persons
  • We launched five initiatives resulting from advocacy and cooperation with relevant health institutions. These include amendments to laws, regulations, healthcare by-laws, professional guidelines development, and medical documentation interpretation

Strengthening and supporting the LGBTIQ community

  • 84 individuals from the LGBTI community received some form of legal advice
  • 26 persons took further institutional action to address violations of their human rights
  • SOC is currently handling eight cases before the courts of BiH related to the inheritance rights of partners and other socio-economic rights, as well as issues of discrimination and incitement to discrimination
  • 82 people from the LGBTI community received concrete advice and guidelines for improving their position and quality of life through peer counseling services
  • 102 people from the LGBTI community actively participated in therapy sessions and achieved significant psychosocial support and improvement in mental health free of charge through our referral system and partner organization Wings of Hope
  • 200 persons from the LGBTI community actively participated in empowerment programs and received psychosocial support and counseling through partner organizations of SOC in Tuzla, Prijedor, Zenica, Bijeljina, Mostar and Sarajevo, thanks to the financial support of SOC
  • As part of its efforts to raise awareness and advocate for change, seven trans individuals shared their experiences publicly, and seven individuals in same-sex partnerships participated in public campaigns and events addressing issues related to the legal regulation of same-sex partnerships making a valuable contribution to the promotion of rights and actively participating in discussions with the public
  • We organized six events that family members of LGBTI individuals attended building solidarity, understanding and support
  • We organized and hosted Kvirhana festival, a celebration of queer art and identity, in partnership with Tuzla Open Centre
  • Over 1410 persons have actively participated in our events, including workshops with local activists, mental health training, and social gatherings for same-sex couples

Educating and engaging relevant proffesionals

  • We organized a series of events and educational programs/training that addressed various issues concerning the human rights of women and LGBTI individuals. The events were attended by 20 lawyers, 74 prosecutors, judges, and lawyers, 18 medical experts, 59 professionals from public institutions such as mental health centers and centers for social work, 19 civil servants, 20 police officers, and 11 politicians
  • 16 contact persons have been appointed at the prosecutor’s offices in nine cantons as well as at the district public prosecutor’s offices. These individuals are available to assist any LGBTI person who requires help in reporting hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  • In collaboration with several academic institutions and organizations (the Faculty of Political Sciences, the Faculty of Law, the Academy of Performing Arts, Burch International University, and the Association of Medical Students in BiH BoHeMSA), SOC hosted lectures for students on human rights, gender equality, and feminism

Providing support and strengthening organizations, initiatives and activists

  • We participated in the work of seven sub-thematic groups for advocacy within existing networks/coalitions
  • We have launched and coordinates an informal coalition of CSOs dedicated to working on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and focusing on amending existing legislation in this area
  • We continue to strengthen the Initiative for Monitoring the European Integration of BiH, which has 23 members, through capacity building and coordination
  • We have trained and involved 37 CSOs in reporting on the state of human rights through work in coalitions
  • Groups supporting LGBTI individuals have launched initiatives in their local communities with our help – three of these initiatives were successfully carried out in Zenica, Kalesija, and Mostar
  • Through SOC mentorship, six local organizations from Zenica, Jajce, Kalesija, Milići, Mostar, and Konjic were empowered to work on LGBTIQ issues
  • An informal group of LGBTI activists in Banja Luka, has also been supported by SOC and continues to organize events for the LGBTI community in Banja Luka and surrounding areas
  • The Center for Women’s Rights Zenica and Women’s Association Seka from Goražde (SOC partners) were part of the working group that developed Gender Action Plans for three cantons (BPK, TK, and ZDK). These plans aim to promote gender equality and provide guidance on working with transgender and intersex individuals
  • A group of civil society organizations has created an informal network to offer psychological counseling and psychosocial support to individuals who identify as LGBTI. This network, known as the LGBTInclusive Network, aims to strengthen organizations that provide peer-to peer support and psychosocial services to LGBTI individuals. Currently, there are 11 organizations located in different regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina that offer these types of support and services
  • We were an active member of eight networks by initiating/supporting campaigns, initiatives, actions/protests, coordinating work, and publishing reports
  • We coordinated the BiH Civil Society Initiative for UPR and continued with joint activities related to reporting and the contribution of civil society in monitoring the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations

Publishing publications, raising awareness and media presence

  • Two research studies were conducted and published: “Fathers on parental leave” and “Socioeconomic position of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
  • 13 publications covering various topics such as legal and psychosocial support, parental leave, and freedom of assembly and association were also published. These publications aim to educate and empower duty holders, professionals from the public, private, and civil sectors, and the general public to build a more inclusive approach to human rights
  • We also released regular annual reports on the status of human rights for LGBTI persons and women, as well as the progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of the European integration process
  • SOC successfully conducted ten campaigns whose reach was 12 011 623. These campaigns and other SOC activities were covered by the media in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a total of 443 mentions
  • The websites lgbti.ba and soc.ba published over 400 articles related to SOC’s activities. The SOC team itself also made 79 appearances in the media

Strategic Plans

  1. Strategic Plan 2013-2015
  2. Strategic Plan 2014-2017
    2.1 Annex 1 to the Strategic Plan 2014-2017, adopted in March 2016
  3. Strategic Plan 2018-2020
  4. Strategic Plan 2021-2023