Action Plan for Children 2015.-2018. - Poverty remains the biggest problem

Poverty remains the biggest problem

Ivana Banović for UNICEF
Reaching hands
UNICEF/Đemidžić
24 November 2018

Expert groups and members of the Children's Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina prepared a report on the Implementation of the Action Plan for Children of Bosnia and Herzegovina 2015-2016. which should be presented to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in the second half of next year, while expecting new recommendations that will be an integral part of the new action plan that will be adopted for the period 2019-2022.

 

The report was assembled at a meeting in Mostar, and the participants of its preparation were members of the expert groups and the Children's Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who also referred to the previous action plan, as well as the measures that were not implemented yet. Guidelines within the Action Plan for Children 2015-2018. for assessing and determining the best interests of the child were adopted, making Bosnia and Herzegovina the first country in the region with a guide that will serve professionals working with children to ensure that the principle of the best interests of the child is incorporated and applied consistently in practice in all areas.

Speaking of the action plan, Milena Jurić, an expert adviser at the Bosnia and Herzegovina Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees and a member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Children's Council, said that the plan included all the recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, which are always delivered to the country parts where it is considered that certain activities have not been sufficiently implemented.

In the Action Plan 2015-2018. the measures from the previous plan related to the period 2011-2014 were also included, which, according to the previous analytical report, were not implemented. The report states that 23 measures were fully implemented, other 23 were also implemented, for the most part, 40 measures were partially carried out, and 11 measures were not implemented at all.

-Nevertheless, we cannot be dissatisfied, and every incomplete implementation of measures will certainly continue – said Jurić, adding how the new, fourth in a row Action Plan will be adopted for the period 2019-2022, and that it will include measures that have not been implemented yet, as well as those implemented and partially implemented.

Measures that were not implemented in the 2011-2014 Action Plan were mostly related to child poverty in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and their complete realization is still controversial.

- It is very important to emphasize that an annual report on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child was sent to the Committee on the Rights of the Child last year and that its presentation to the Committee is expected in the second half of next year. We already know that we will receive new recommendations that will be an integral part of the new action plan- said Juric.

Regarding the violence against children, she pointed out that several activities related to the prevention of violence against children were launched in some way, because, as he says, "until now we did not have complete data when it comes to violence against children in Bosnia and Herzegovina".

-Activities on the research related to violence against children have already been initiated and have been entrusted to a non-governmental organization. The research will also be attended by representatives of the academic community, members of the Children's Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina, so that in the next year we will have a complete research related to violence against children, which we did not have so far - said Jurić.

Dr. Suzana Bubić, professor emeritus, from the Faculty of Law at the University of Džemal Bijedić, who was one of the authors of the Guidelines for Assessing and Determining the Best Interests of the Child, emphasized how those guidelines were designed to serve as a navigation to professionals who work daily with children and make decisions related to children.

It is not always as easy as it seems to determine the content in the best interests of the child, and therefore the list of elements that should be respected in determining the best interests of the child and the list of activities that the competent authorities should take into account in order to establish and realize the best interests of the child are included in the guidelines.

- We believe that the guidelines will indeed be useful in practice and will help the competent authorities, or decision-makers, to protect the best interests of the child, i.e. ensure the rights of the child and meet his/her needs within the family and the wider community, but also in all educational and social institutions, in administrative and judicial proceedings - Bubić pointed out.

Mirsada Bajramovic from the association ‘Zemlja djece u Bosnia and Herzegovina’ (Country of Children in Bosnia and Herzegovina), a member of the ‘Snazniji Glas za Djecu’ (Stronger Voice for Children) network, emphasized that the guidelines of this kind are the first such documents in this region, and that there were over 30 professionals from different sectors working on it.

She assessed how the previous analyzes of numerous decisions that were determining certain rights of the child have shown that professionals mostly call for the best interest of the child, but do not elaborate it, that is, they do not explain which elements they have considered so they can stand behind it and say - this is indeed the best interest of a child. She announced that the network 'Snazniji Glas za Djecu’ (Stronger Voice for Children) will, in the upcoming period, be working on promoting guidelines among professionals and on their training.