New York, 14 Dec 2012
Statement by H.E. Ms Mirsada Čolaković, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations
at the Closing of the Stakeholders’ Forum on preventing and eliminating violence against women
First of all I would like to thank UN Women for organizing this Forum. I believe that discussions in the last two days will bring concrete activities and contributions with regard to preventing and eliminating violence against women, particularly in the light of the priority theme of the forthcoming Session of the Commission of the Status of Women.
I would like to emphasize the importance of strengthening normative framework related to violence against women. It is of vital importance that countries develop adequate national instruments and combine them with international instruments in order to implement the norms in this area. In Bosnia and Herzegovina we work on improving the legal framework with regard to the status of persons who were victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence.
Survivors can often be the driving force seeking for the truth and justice. Furthermore, the victims can transform their experience into activism. This is an invaluable asset in the post-conflict reconciliation process.
Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls requires not only political commitment but the willingness to implement it. Leadership, partnerships and appropriate resources are necessary.
The UNFPA and the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina implemented a two-year project in period 2010-2012, supported by the UN Action Against Violence, on comprehensive addressing this issue. Currently the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees and UNFPA are developing a Programme for improving the status of women victims of rape, sexual abuse and other forms of torture for period 2012-2016.
It is extremely important to adopt national strategies or develop programmes to deal with the issue of sexual and gender-based violence in a post-conflict country. Addressing these issues in a comprehensive manner as well as having effective implementation of policy are essential in the context of transitional justice and protection for the survivors.
Sexual violence and rape are considered as the most degrading weapons of armed conflict, generating shame and trauma. The crime of rape is not exclusively linked to a specific time, region or continent. Nevertheless, effective legal prohibition against it emerged only recently.
Our country has significant experience in dealing with the issue of sexual violence in conflict. Much has been done by the associations of survivors, local governments and international organizations in tackling this difficult and sensitive issue. Much more needs to be done in order to remove the stigma associated with it.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is ready to share its experience about this delicate issue. We believe that our knowledge can contribute to better identifying the gaps and challenges in the implementation of the existing commitments.
Countries need to uphold the existing standards and reinvigorate efforts related to protection of victims and seeking accountability for the perpetrators. Finally, what matters the most are measures and the real impact of various policies on the ground.
We are ready to engage into constructive discussions and share our experience of good practices in formulating the agreed conclusions during the fifty-seventh session of the Commission of the Status of Women. Action-oriented recommendations to the States, intergovernmental bodies, relevant stakeholders and the United Nations system must be carefully calibrated.
It is critical to produce the outcome document which will be acceptable to all delegations. The adoption will be a clear signal of a renewed political commitment for action, building partnerships and accelerating the implementation of policies to address the issue of prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls.