Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has made significant advances toward the establishment of the rule of law and a sustainable peace in BiH since the Dayton Peace Agreement
in 1995, yet significant obstacles to full implementation of the human rights provisions stipulated by the Accords persist. Opaque policy-making and judicial processes, and the lack of civil society expertise in assuring government accountability, prevent full compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
and retard the country's transition to democracy and return to a unified, multi-ethnic state.
IHRLG established our Sarajevo office in 1997 to train and assist BiH judges, lawyers and human rights activists from all ethnic groups in advocating full incorporation of international human rights standards into the domestic legal system. Between 1997 and 2000, our BiH team strategically combined legal education and human rights advocacy to mobilize and empower civil society to create lasting legal and political change. Since 1997, we have
- Trained over 800 BiH activists and legal practitioners in applying the human rights mechanisms of the United Nations and the European Union;
- Assisted lawyers with strategic litigation in cases where human rights are at stake, such as the "Zvornik 7" case; and
- Helped BiH organizations build coalitions and develop legislative advocacy initiatives to combat ethnic discrimination (including segregation in BiH schools) and protect the rights of women, persons with disabilities and victims of trafficking.
To mobilize and empower civil society groups to press for legislative transparency and government accountability, IHRLG developed a training program on conducting human rights and legislative advocacy at the cantonal, municipal, entity (Federation of BiH and Republica Srpska) and state level. We conduct research on the legislative process and mentor BiH NGOs in documenting human rights violations, monitoring legislation, mobilizing their respective communities and developing strategies for advancing their legislative agendas that include working in coalitions. IHRLG also facilitates BiH NGO networking and collaboration with regional and international counterparts particularly in combating trafficking in persons.
To strengthen human rights protections, we train legal practitioners in strategic human rights lawyering and assist them in advocating the removal of impediments to accessing justice, such as the prohibitive cost of legal representation and the lack of legal aid.
Click on the links below to learn more about our activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Increasing civic participation in the country's transition, through human rights and legislative advocacy training
Supporting coalitions that protect the rights of women, persons with disabilities and victims of trafficking
Promoting government and legislative transparency and accountability
Facilitating access to justice through strengthening human rights protections and legal services