WILPF Statement on the Universal Periodic Review Report of Bosnia and Herzegovina

20 March 2015

United Nations Human Rights Council: 28th Session

20 March 2015

Law on victims of torture in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Thank you Mr President,

We regret the decision by Bosnia and Herzegovina to postpone their statement on the report of the UPR working group, we urge them to accept and implement all recommendations promptly and in particular the recommendation “to adopt a law on reparation and compensation for victims of torture during the war” issued by France.

Mr President,

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a post-conflict country currently in transition. In spite of the pressure and efforts of the civil society organisations and the international community, the State is yet to properly address the issue of the reparation of victims of war. Two decades after the war, the Law on Victims of Torture still remains to be adopted.

The initiative to have a Law on Victims of Torture started around 2005, since then, many attempts have been made without success and the process is currently at stall. Numerous treaty bodies and this very review have recommended Bosnia and Herzegovina to adopt such a law.

A clear definition of victims of torture is greatly needed as multiple definitions are used for persons who are victims of war. They range from victims of torture, raped victims and missing persons to inmates of concentration camps. The usage of multiple definitions creates fragmentation and a lack of clarity when protecting human rights. Singling out victims of rape as a different category leads to discrimination and does not recognise that rape is a form of torture.

The Law on Victims of Torture would serve to define the status and rights of all victims equally. We urge Bosnia and Herzegovina to adopt this law promptly.

Thank you Mr President.