Review of human rights of women in B&H for the upcoming 8th of March 2017 and The Week of Equality of Sexes:
Public Announcement: Decisive and concrete measures from the state institutions is needed in 2017
Irresponsible behavior from the state institutions regarding financing of safe houses for women in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina continued in 2016. It culminated with the adoption of a draft of Amendments to the Law for Protection Against Domestic Violence in FB&H. The draft itself determines that the safe houses in FB&H are founded through the norms of Law on Institutions of B&H. The draft also defines that the costs of safe houses are covered 70% by the budget of FB&H and 30% by the budget of Cantons but only for costs of accommodation of victims of violence, other costs are not mentioned. NGOs that are managing safe houses find this draft unfavorable for the existence of safe houses in FB&H. Persistence and pressure from civil society on one hand and no response from cantons on this topic on the other, led to a stall of legislative process concerning this law.
No concrete measures were taken to remove the inequality of new mothers regarding maternity leave in FB&H. Possibility to get maternity leave depends on factors such as what canton woman lives in, work sector and time spent working before taking maternity leave. This is still a pressing issue even though Women’s Club in Parliament with the help of NGOs launched Initiative for solving this problem which was adopted by the House of Representatives of Parliament of FB&H. Ministry of Work and Social Politics of FB&H also published two proposals for fixing this issue but without any substantial change.
Last year’s failed attempt to amend The Law on Council of Ministers of B&H and Election Law showed a lack of political will to provide actual equality for women in political life. Proposed amendments contained norms such as one that requires 40% of members of Council of Ministers to be women or the council would not be constituted. Other big change was focused on realizing bigger participation of women in politics by adopting a rule that requires for candidates on election lists to be placed alternatively based on their sex, and that the quota should be 50%. Lack of equality for women in politics is easily noticeable if one looks at the results of local elections where only 6 women were elected as a mayor (out of 131 mayor positions). Still, 2016 was a year where steps were taken to improve women equality. Those steps are to be realized in 2017. Thus, new draft of a Criminal Law of Republic of Srpska provides a base for this law to be aligned with Istanbul Convention (CAHVIO). Certain progress was achieved in new Labor Law of FB&H by implementing the parental leave, in other words, a possibility for a father to use a parental leave. This enables child’s father to use a parental leave after first 42 days of child’s birth (when parental leave has to be used by mother). After the period of 42 days, mother and father can freely decide between them who will take parental leave.
An analysis of the implementation of GAP has to be carried out until 2017. Results and facts gained from the analysis and from NGOs should be used for creating new Gender Action Plan for B&H. Adopting new public policies for gender equality on cantonal level of FB&H should be in focus in the upcoming period as well as forming institutional mechanisms for their implementation. Municipalities and local governments should create their own gender action plans with a cooperation of civil sector. Results of the implementation of those GAPs should be provided orderly to gender centers on entity levels and Agency for Gender Equality of B&H.
Changes to criminal laws of FB&H and District of Brčko should be carried out just as ones in Republic of Srpska so they will be aligned with the rules set in Istanbul Convention. This will allow more adequate fight against gender based criminal acts.