Members of Parliaments Discuss LGBT Rights
A three-day seminar on LGBT rights in the context of European integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina is being closed today. The goal of the seminar, organized by the Sarajevo Open Center with the support of the Norwegian Embassy, was to inform representatives of human rights and gender equality institutions and bodies about the problems and needs of Bosnian LGBT community.
The organizers said that the seminar should bring about an increased level of involvement of institutions when it comes to the protection of LGBT rights and the inclusion of LGBT people in the BiH society. This is the first seminar on LGBT topics in BiH history with the participation of MPs. Their participation is a clear announcement of a more intensive approach related to LGBT rights in the 2015-2018 mandate. A variety of international mechanisms and human rights reports, such as the EU Progress Report for 2013 and 2014, have requested a stronger involvement of BiH institutions.
Mirsad Isakovic, Chair of the Gender Equality Committee of the BiH Parliament’s House of Representatives; Diana Zelenika, Deputy-Chair of the Gender Equality Committee of the BiH Parliament’s House of Representatives; Maja Gasal-Vrazalica, a member of the Gender Equality Committee; and Damir Arnaut, a member of the Joint Human Rights Committee of BiH Parliament’s both Houses participated in the seminar. Representatives of the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees, Ombudsman Institution, Gender Equality Agency, Gender Centers of FBiH and RS, Human Rights Committee of the Parliament of the Federation BiH and the Ministry of Interior of Republika Srpska were also present at the seminar.
During the three-day program, leading experts from BiH, Croatia and Serbia have discussed problems, know-how and best practice from institutions in the region, hoping that it will lead to a stronger involvement of BiH institutions.
On the first day of the seminar, the participants discussed stereotypes and prejudice related to LGBT rights, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, regional and international frameworks for the protection of LGBT rights, and the experience of the Ombudsman Institution in this area.
The second day started with a presentation on the same-sex partnerships and strategies for the prevention and protection against discrimination. Hate crime incidents and acts, as a strong destabilizing factor in any society, were the topic of the afternoon session, together with transgender rights.
Today, on the last day of the conference, concrete guidelines and what needs to be implemented related to LGBT rights in the upcoming period will be presented.