A three-day seminar on LGBT rights in the context of European integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina is being closed today (Friday). The goal of the seminar, which has been organized by the Sarajevo Open Centre with the support of the Norwegian Embassy, has been to inform representatives of human rights and gender equality institutions and bodies about the problems and needs of LGBT people in BiH. The result of this seminar should be an increased level of involvement of institutions when it comes to the protection of LGBT rights and the inclusion of LGBT people in the BiH society.
This is the first seminar on LGBT topics in BiH history with the participation of MPs. Their participation is a clear announcement of a more intensive approach related to LGBT rights in 2015-2018 mandate. Different international mechanisms and human rights reports, such as the EU Progress Report for 2013 and 2014, have requested a stronger involvement of BiH institutions.
Mirsad Isaković, Chair of the Gender Equality Committee of the Representative House of the PABIH; Diana Zelenika, Deputy-Chair of the Gender Equality Committee of the Representative House of the PABIH; Maja Gasal-Vražalica, Member of the Gender Equality Committee of the Representative House of the PABIH; and Damir Arnaut, member of the Joint Human Rights Committee of both chambers of the PABIH actively participated in the seminar. Representatives of the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees BiH, Ombudsman Institution, Gender Equality Agency, Gender Centres of FBIH and RS, Human Rights Committee of the Parliament of the Federation BiH and the Ministry of Interior of the Republika Srpska were also present at the seminar.
During the three-day programme, leading experts from BiH, Croatia and Serbia have discussed problems, know-how and best practice from institutions in the region, hoping that this will lead to a stronger involvement of BiH institutions.
During the first day of the seminar, the participants discussed stereotypes and prejudice related to LGBT rights, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, regional and international frameworks for the protection of LGBT rights, and the experience of the Ombudsman Institution in this area.
The second day started with the presentation on same-sex partnership and strategies for the prevention and protection against discrimination. Hate crime incidents and acts, as a strong destabilizing factor of every society, have been the topic, together with transgender rights, of the afternoon session.
At the last day concrete guidelines, what needs to be implemented related to LGBT rights in the upcoming period, have been presented.