Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia-Herzegovina adopted its most recent National Action Plan (NAP) in 2018, for the period 2018-2022. The NAP was developed by the country’s Agency for Gender Equality and the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees, based on the results of and recommendations from the evaluation of the second action plan. Similar to the country’s previous NAP, Bosnia-Herzegovina’s third action plan contextualizes the WPS agenda by providing a detailed overview of the country’s domestic legal framework and critically examines the legislative and policy developments to advance women’s full participation in public and political life. The NAP also offers a detailed gender equality analysis of women’s participation in high-level decision-making positions such as in the security forces and peacekeeping missions. Additionally, the NAP has a section devoted to analyzing human security through the perspective of gender equality, which includes sections on human trafficking, victims of sexual violence and other wartime atrocities, and landmines as well as touching upon natural disasters, migration, violent exremism, and small arms and light weapons. While the NAP includes a detailed implementation matrix, it does not have an allocated budget. 

Bosnia-Herzegovina’s third NAP is preceded by two other NAPs, adopted in 2010 and 2014 and implemented for the period 2010-2013 and 2014-2017, respectively. All three of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s NAP are equally detailed, including dedicated sections that contextualize the WPS agenda within the country’s domestic gender equality frameworks. Additionally, both the second and third NAPs include a standalone section that discusses “lessons learned” from the implementation of the previous action plans.  The overall goals of the NAPs have also remained consistently similar, focusing on participation, prevention, and protection, with the exception of the third NAP, which has added the prevention of the misuse of small arms and light weapons as an action item amongst the overarching objectives. 

Bosnia-Herzegovina gained independence from former Yugoslavia in 1992. The country went through a violent armed conflict between 1992 and 1995, where ethnic cleansing and sexual violence were used as weapons of war. The conflict resulted in thousands of casualties and missing people and millions of refugees, and came to an end through the Dayton Peace Agreement. Even though women survived severe wartime atrocities and yet were still at the forefront of peacebuilding initiatives, they were excluded from high-level diplomatic negotiations. Increased rates of domestic violence and human trafficking are remnants of the war with which the country is still grappling. 

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was established in 1993 to prosecute crimes committed during the Yugoslav Wars. ICTY investigated and indicted perpetrators of wartime sexual violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina, recognizing for the first time rape as a war crime as well as a crime against humanity. In July 2018, Bosnia-Herzegovina signed the Joint Declaration on Missing Persons and Joint Declaration on War Crimes in the Framework of the Berlin Process at the Western Balkans Summit Leaders Meeting. Despite being a signatory to the declaration, the Bosnian government has not taken an official position to support RECOM, a regional truth commission to investigate war crimes and human rights violations committed between 1991 and 2001 in former Yugoslavia. 

At the multilateral level, Bosnia-Herzegovina most recently served as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2010-2011. 

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