European Union and UN Women launch new initiative to focus on Ending Violence against Women and Girls

Half of all women have been subjected to some form of violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A serious violation of basic human rights, violence against women and girls is widespread here, and often seen as socially acceptable behavior justified by traditional patriarchal concepts.

European Union and UN Women organized on Monday 29 May 2017 a high-level workshop to launch the country-level component of "Ending Violence against Women in the Western Balkan countries and Turkey: Implementing Norms, Changing Minds”. The workshop is organized under the new regional programme that aims to combat violence and discrimination against women and girls in six Western Balkans countries and Turkey funded by the European Union in the amount of EUR 5 million. The launch brought together government representatives, UN agencies, European Union representatives and civil society organisations to discuss ways forward when it comes to combating violence against women.

Gender equality is a matter of human rights and gender based violence is one of the most prevalent human rights violation. We should all raise our voice and combat violence against women, which is why we are glad to finance this important regional project worth EUR 5 million. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a part of this regional project and EU has recognized the need to assist BiH in its endeavors to achieve gender balance and gender equality in all spheres of social life.  We all have responsibility to fight discrimination, stand up against gender based violence and pass the message that violence against women is simply not accepted” said Head of Cooperation in the EU Delegation to BiH Melvin Asin.

The programme aims to combat violence and discrimination against women and girls in six Western Balkans countries and Turkey. . It will work towards creating an enabling legislative and policy environment in line with international normative standards, strengthening women’s organizations in their fight to address the structural causes of gender inequality and violence against women, and empowering women and girls (including those from disadvantaged groups) who have experienced discrimination or violence.
“This project comes as direct support to the implementation of the Framework strategy for the implementation of the Istanbul Convention in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Gender mechanisms’ partnership with UN Women is an example of synergies in ending gender based violence in BiH. It is also very important to point out the regional approach in this context which helps creating better quality solutions in fighting violence against women”, said advisor at the Agency for Gender Equality BiH Saša Leskovac.

The programme envisages close cooperation with and extensive assistance to civil society organizations as key partners and drivers of change on gender equality. Additionally, the programme builds on existing work in the country to endorse favourable social norms and attitudes towards preventing discrimination and violence against women.

“This project comes at a time when there have been several combined efforts ongoing or currently in the pipeline gathered around the same purpose, but are targeting different levels of interventions, different locations and use a combination of approaches towards achieving complementarity and integration of results. In UN Women office we will do our best to achieve results in close collaboration with all other actors and stakeholders”, said Programme Specialist at UN Women Bosnia and Herzegovina Amna Muharemović.

The workshop also provided an insight into the linkages of the programme activities with national strategic documents pertaining to gender equality and the EU Action Plan on gender equality.