Strategy for Implementation of Istanbul Convention Adopted: Entities and Cantons Must take Harder Stance Towards Combating Violence Against Women

Sarajevo Open Center applauds the adoption of the Framework Strategy for the Implementation of the Istanbul Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence in BiH for 2015-2018 by the Council of Ministers of BiH.

Bosnia and Herzegovina thus became one of the first countries in Europe to adopt a public policy document for the implementation of the Convention, taking on the obligation to combat violence against women and domestic violence.

Dedicated efforts of the entities and cantons will be the key for improving the situation. The entities and cantons must introduce legislative reforms, continue building the capacities of judges, prosecutors, social workers and police officers, and show clear commitment to supporting the work of safe houses, and programs for the economic empowerment of victims of violence.

As a reminder: the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence was adopted on May 11, 2011, in Istanbul. Coming on the heels of a series of recommendations provided by the Council of Europe regarding the prohibiting of gender-based discrimination and ensuring protection against violence (with the purpose of setting common goals and the minimum common standards for signatory states, but without being a legally binding instrument), the Convention is the first legally binding document of the Council of Europe which concerns the issue of preventing and combating violence against women. The nature of this Convention does not make it directly applicable in the signatory states, but does call for special harmonization of the legislative and institutional frameworks of the signatories, to guarantee its successful implementation.

On November 7, 2013, BiH became the 6th Council of Europe member state to ratify the Convention. By doing so, BiH committed to undertaking legislative and other measures with the purpose of providing a legal, institutional and organizational framework for preventing violence against women, protecting victims of violence and prosecuting the perpetrators.

Source: Sarajevo Open Center (www.soc.ba)

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