Bosnia and Herzegovina

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CountryBosnia and Herzegovina
Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, on a Communication Procedure
ViolenceThe Committee is concerned about the lack of trained staff to identify, report and address cases of violence against children in social welfare centres and schools.
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is legal in the home, alternative care settings and day care in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the District of Brcko. Corporal Punishment is prohibited in all settings in the Republic of Srpska.
Overview of the child rights situation

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a mid-range State in implementing children’s rights. Very high rates of unemployment, poverty and the discrimination of Roma children are unacceptable and the Children’s rights situation in these areas must be improved.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee recommends to establish accessible, confidential, child-friendly and effective channels for children, their family and staff working with and for children to report cases of sexual exploitation and abuse. Furthermore, the Committee recommends to provide specialized support for child victims of sexual exploitation and abuse, including psychological counselling, rehabilitation and social integration assistance, and encouraging courts to make use of the child-friendly and multi-agency arrangement for obtaining testimony from children.

The Committee also recommends to ensure equal access to sexual and reproductive services for adolescent girls and boys, particularly those in marginalized groups, such as Roma children, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children and children with disabilities, across the State party.

Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee recommends to ensure that children with disabilities, including children with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities, have equal access to appropriate services, including health care, early detection and intervention programmes.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee is concerned about the insufficient capacity of reception centres to accommodate migrant and asylum-seeking children, resulting in them being forced to sleep on the streets without adequate shelter and in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. The Committee recommends to avoid all forms of detention of asylum seekers and migrants under the age of 18 and families with children and consider all possible alternatives to detention.
Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolYes
Digital possibilitiesThe Committee is concerned about the prevalence of violence online and in schools.
physical health

The Committee recommends to raise awareness of the importance of vaccinations, ensure that health professionals and staff are trained to work with children and establish effective communication with their parents and family. The policies and programmes on the nutrition of children need to be monitored, paying particular attention to Roma children. The Committee further recommends to expand the scope of the national policy of sexual and reproductive health and rights to ensure that sexual and reproductive health education is part of the mandatory school curriculum and age-appropriate, with special attention paid to preventing early pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, in all territories of the State party. The Committee, among other things, recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to improve school transportation, ensure free textbooks for all children in the State party and provide financial support to parents for educational costs to reduce school dropout at all levels of education.

Relation to other countries
Impacts of climate change

The maximum concentration of air pollution should be regulated and all sites containing uranium need to be cleaned up.

Business sector

The Committee recommends to establish a clear regulatory framework for the business sector operating in the State party to ensure that its activities do not negatively affect human rights or endanger environmental and other standards, especially those relating to children’s rights.

Situation of juvenile justice

Bosnia and Herzegovina has an inadequate number of specialized juvenile judges. Children are detained together with adults. The Committee recommends to promote non-judicial measures for children accused of criminal offences, including diversion, mediation and counselling and the use of non-custodial sentences for children, such as probation or community service, wherever possible.

Specific observations

The Committee recommends to remove all exceptions that allow marriage under the age of 18 and to provide special support to illiterate or undocumented persons in order to facilitate birth registration of their children. Closer attention for children in street situations is necessary to provide alternative opportunities for them, including vocational training and employment opportunities, and reintegration with their families or placement in alternative care, based on the best interests of the child.

The Committee recommends to address the negative impact of stereotyping and discriminatory attitudes on children’s rights and ensure that the media is sensitized to this stigmatization of children, particularly children in disadvantaged situations, including by encouraging the media to adopt codes of conduct.

The Committee is concerned at the still low enrolment rate in preschool, particularly among children in rural areas and those belonging to disadvantaged groups, and the lack of sufficient budgetary means to implement policies and programmes to improve preschool education.

Additional BackgroundConcluding observations on the fifth and sixth periodic reports released on 5 December 2019.
Last Updated (date)2nd of March, 2022