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“Road Signs” for children and parents in Bosnia and Herzegovina to protect children’s rights and prevent discrimination

UNICEF and the Institution of the Ombudsman of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Federation have produced a practical legal guide on human rights for children and their parents. The booklet, entitled Road Signs, is a practical guide to the administrative and legal policies and procedures needed to recognize and address violations of children’s rights. It is written in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian.

Years of experience have taught UNICEF that most parents and children in BiH have no idea how to protect their rights in their everyday life. UNICEF therefore, supported the Institution of the Ombudsman of the BiH Federation to develop and publish a manual to assist both children and parents in this regard. The manual was produced in consultation with lawyers, social workers, psychologists and educationalists.

“I am proud to see the result of this partnership between UNICEF and the Institution of the Ombudsman of the BiH Federation.  Road Signs is a child-friendly manual on children’s rights. I encourage all children and young people - and also their parents, teachers and professors - to get their free copy of this handbook, and to share it with their family members, neighbours and friends. I hope this manual will help all who read it to understand the basic rights of children,” said UNICEF Representative in BiH, Helena Eversole. “Armed with this new understanding and the manual’s practical guidance on how to address violations of children’s rights, parents, teachers and government officials can now take appropriate action to ensure that children’s rights are respected and fulfilled,” she added.

Road Signs provides advice and clear instructions on what to do in certain situations.  

The primary responsibility of the Institution of the Ombudsman of the BiH Federation is to protect the human dignity, rights and liberties provided to citizens under the Constitution, and also to act to redress the consequences of violations of these rights and liberties. The expertise of the Institution’s Children’s Department in dealing with individual complaints helped the authors to structure the legal guide and make it user-friendly for everyone.  Given the complex nature of the legal and administrative system in BiH, it is extremely difficult for a family or a child to pursue their rights as defined by the BiH legal system and set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

“This publication contains practical instructions for the protection of children's and parent's most commonly violated rights. This manual should help children and their parents learn about, or refresh their knowledge of, human rights, especially those set out in the CRC, and also show them how to ensure their rights," said Vera Jovanovic, of the Institution of the Ombudsman of the BiH Federation. “The essential intention is to educate the young generation to think about their rights and to fight for them. Young people have to be the most committed activists for their rights,” Jovanovic added.

Road signs contains various examples from the everyday life of children in BiH, describing situations in which their rights are violated, as well as all the necessary steps to protect them, as guaranteed by national legislation.  It tells the reader what to do if physically or psychologically abused by a family member, a teacher or by other children.  The child whose parents are separated and is not receiving the maintenance due her/him, can learn how to request free legal aid.  A young person will find out how to get healthcare after leaving school.

The manual was presented to the public this week, and will soon be posted on the web pages of the Institution of the Ombudsman of the BiH Federation and on UNICEF’s websites to ensure wide dissemination. Hard copies will be distributed through the Institution and UNICEF’s partners across the country.

For more information:

Angela Hawke, Communication Officer, UNICEF Regional Office for CEE/CIS
tel (+4122) 909 5433, cell (+4179) 601 9917



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