In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the disability organisations are working on strengthening their capacity and role as advocates for the social inclusion of persons with disabilities.
Bosnia-Herzegovina is divided into two entities, which in turn are split into cantons and/or municipalities. The cantons and municipalities are relatively autonomous and there are major administrative and political differences between them. This has meant that the disability rights movement has previously been relatively splintered. One of the major successes of recent years has therefore been that the disability organisations have managed to unite as one national disability rights movement, which has created much better conditions for effective advocacy work. The disability organisations that receive support via MyRight are organised into five different coalitions: in Sarajevo, Tuzla, Mostar, Bijeljina and Doboj-Derventa.
Bosnia-Herzegovina has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2009) and the disability rights movement has drawn up a parallel report to the state’s report on implementation of the Convention. The data and information gathered have also been used to produce a report for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and as the basis for the participation of representatives from the disability rights movement in UPR’s meetings in Geneva. In addition, information has been used to draw up proposed action plans for local authorities. Two of these action plans have been adopted in their entirety, which means that the local authorities undertake to provide services and support in line with the Convention.
Another major success has been a media code of conduct that the disability organisations have produced to guide journalists in how to pursue rights-based and non-discriminatory journalism. The code describes what journalists should think about when interviewing persons with disabilities, and how choice of terminology, images, context and so on, based on a rights perspective, can help to change attitudes towards persons with disabilities, instead of perpetuating negative prejudices.
There has been a great deal of interest in the media code of conduct among many different stakeholders, and the document has been welcomed by journalism and law students who have received training on the subject. It has also had a positive effect on the way the organisations involved have been represented in the media.
Office in Bosnia-Herzegovina
Phone: + 387 621 19 969
Josipa Stadlera 11
71 000 Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Partner organizations in Bosnia-Herzegovina
- USGKS – Udruzenje Slijepih Gradjana Kantona Sarajevo
- Association of youth, Ruzicnjak
- IC LOTOS
- OAZA – Association for persons with intellectual disabilities in Canton Sarajevo