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Memorandum of Understanding: Protecting and enhancing the rights of children in BiH

Sarajevo,  June 6, 2013, at 11:00. - The representatives of Hope and Homes for Children, Save the Children, SOS Children's Village - Bosnia and Herzegovina, UNICEF and World Vision signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Thursday, June 6, 2013. This Memorandum is a result of the continued joint efforts with the aim of protecting and enhancing the rights of children in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 
The cooperation among Hope and Homes for Children, Save the Children, SOS Children's Village in Bosnia and Herzegovina, UNICEF and World Vision started in February 2009,  when the SOS Children's Village sent out an invitation to form a working group focusing on children without parental care. After the initial meeting, the focus of the working group expanded to include vulnerable children in general, with a special emphasis on children with developmental disabilities and children from marginalized minority groups. The goal of the working group was: exchange of information on issues related to the protection of children, joint advocating for the rights of children and coordination among the organizations in order to avoid duplicating of activities and encourage cooperation.
The activities of the group that have been conducted so far included the following: filing applications for training of foster parents with the Ministry of Social Labor of the Sarajevo Canton, rendering joint recommendations on children's rights for the Council for Human Rights in Geneva, providing comments and recommendations on draft Law on Protection of Families with Children, organizing a conference “Children in Bosnia and Herzegovina” in cooperation with the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees and relevant entity ministries, as well as publishing an Open letter to draw attention to the fact that representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina have not signed the Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child which is related to the procedure for filing applications with the Committee for the Rights of the Child as a Supervisory Body in charge of the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The representatives of the organizations signatories welcomed the temporary decision of the Council of Ministries to designate registration areas for assigning personal identification numbers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, whereby  assigning of personal identification number and registration of newborns in the Register of Births have been temporarily enabled, as well as issuance of personal and other documents, but they also appealed on the Council of Ministers and other relevant institutions to find a definite solution for this problem as soon as possible.

In the current political and social context in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with evident stagnation of all reforms, continued political crisis, and increased poverty which mostly effects the youngest and the most vulnerable population, by signing the Memorandum of Understanding, the organizations signatories committed to the close cooperation and making joint efforts to resolve pressing problems related to children in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this way, as a group, we make ourselves available to BH authorities and public as a whole, to continue providing information on the status of the rights of children in BiH and active support for their enhancing.



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