The delegation of Bosnia and Herzegovina will present the positive developments made in BiH when it comes to those who survived sexual violence in the conflict and children born of wartime sexual violence at the second international conference dedicated to initiative for the prevention of sexual violence in the conflict which is held in London.
On this occasion, in the author’s text of the British Ambassador to BiH Julian Reilly, Director of TRIAL International in BiH Selma Korjenić and President of the Association “Forgotten Children of the War” Ajna Jusić warned that even today, 30 years later, the legacy of the last war in BiH is felt.
They emphasized that survivors of wartime sexual violence are among the most vulnerable in society, and many are still struggling to get the support they need. The long-term, physical, psychological, economic and social consequences felt by the survivors, and their families have not been spared either.
“In addition, many face a social stigma that discourages them from seeking compensation. All this can prevent survivors from becoming fully involved members of their communities, which weakens society as a whole,” it is said in the author’s text.
They warned that survivors face additional challenges if they become mothers of children born as wartime sexual violence, because these children are sometimes seen as “hidden citizens” and, like their mothers, are treated differently for reasons beyond their control.
The Association “Forgotten Children of the War” works to support these children, and their theater play “In the name of the father” brings real-life stories and gives these children the opportunity to tell the audience what happened to them. It can be painful, but it is also an important recovery process for the performers and the audience.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina must do more to support these children. Small steps, such as the theater play and the recent change in the law in Brčko District (which legally recognizes these children as civilian victims of war), are important and positive steps in the right direction,” they said.
TRIAL International provides support to survivors in the judicial system and their work has established important legal precedents, especially in relation to the decision of the UN Committee against Torture, which is considered a turning point, and which underlines the need for BiH to fulfill its obligations towards victims regarding the right to reparation.
Also, the initiative for the prevention of sexual violence in conflict has been a leading policy of the United Kingdom since 2012, and the international conference aims to encourage further action by promoting prevention, justice and support for survivors, as well as to renew the international coalition on this critical issue.
The conference intends to raise the bar when it comes to prevention and response to sexual violence in the conflict, and the Declaration from the conference will send a strong message that these heinous crimes must stop and indicate ways to achieve this, said the author’s text.