Public participation in peace processes – the UN SCR 1325 in BIH(Women,Peace,Security)
Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Problem

The overall problem was that government institutions were not including the perspective of women in the security sector and the services delivered by police and security forces. The reason that women’s human rights were not considered in the design of services offered by police and military are the strong patriarchal culture in Bosnia, traditional prejudices, the view of gender based violence and domestic violence as a private issue, and the marginalization of women in political life of the country.This initiative had the goal of improving women’s participation in the security sector as a strategy to make it more gender responsive, as well as including the voices of local women in the design of security services in communities.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
The initiative sought to integrate gender in the armed forces, police, judiciary, and penal institutions at the central, entity, and cantonal levels and Brčko District of Bosnia with the goal of improving the provision of security services to women. It worked towards implementing relevant national legislation and international instruments and changing policies and practices of security services and includes civil society organizations working on gender and security in service delivery decisions.The initiative succeeded in increasing the number of women in peacekeeping contingents, including in command positions, in pre deployment training and education, in mission support roles. Also, gender issues were included in the curriculum for peacekeeping training and new practices were instated to make employment in missions easier for women to access and give them equal opportunities. The border police now have an internal policy that 30% of new recruits must be women and the Ministry of Security is now passing a policy that two deputy ministers must be women. In the police of both entities two women were promoted to the rank of independent inspector, a position which has never been held by a woman before. A woman was appointed to the position of president of the national security council and openness to including a gender perspective is now present in national and local security structures. The BiH Border Police now systematically cooperate with CSOs on preventing and addressing human trafficking throughout BiH. The community security forum in Prijedor and free legal aid for women in Zenica have been used to increase local ownership and feedback into security services and in promoting inclusive consultations on local security issues. Several local and national level CSOs are proactive in supporting victims of domestic violence, and opening crisis phone lines, legal counseling centers, and safe houses for women and children victims of domestic violence and trafficking in close cooperation with police.Community service organizations are also developing multidisciplinary teams for the prevention of and protection from gender-based violence (GBV) in local communities, as well as several programmes of work with perpetrators of violence.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The initiative focused on having the discourse of security services transformed from traditional security (borders, inter-state conflict) to individual and human security, with services changed to reflect this, in cooperation between all the security institutions in the country and women’s civil society organization Zene zenama among others. The security sector together with civil society worked to have violence against women treated as a serious security issues as opposed to a private domestic issue, along with security for refugees and displaced persons and individual security for all citizens. Stakeholders involved in reconceptualizing security services where Ministry of Security at the national level, Ministry of Interior and Police at level of both entities, border police, security structures including training and education structures and peacekeeping operations. The Ministry of Security coordinated at the national level with all other institutions such as Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Finance and women’s civil society. The goal was to have security services be designed with feedback from the local levels and communities through workshops and forums to improves services of both protection and prevention.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
The first strategy used was awareness raising of what gender responsiveness in the delivery of security service entails. UN SC resolutions 1325 and 1830 were translated and disseminated and women’s civil society was invited by security sector institutions to do trainings for security service providers (police, military), create networks and undertake consultations between local women’s civil society and government institutions.

Five key areas of work were then identified together with the security sector and government: inclusion of women in design of security services, including a gender perspective in decision making on security sector services, and monitoring reports, inclusion of a perspective of women’s human rights, and including a gender perspective in peacekeeping operations.At the local level the strategy was to include women’s voices in design of security sector services. Women’s groups were included in the service delivery reform process, and worked at the local level together with police with women victims. Women’s groups also created networks of stakeholders working on women’s security, including police and justice mechanisms, and liaising between communities and police to make local security concerns known.All the stakeholders came together in 2010 to create an action plan on implementing resolution 1325. The plan was prepared together by government ministries and civil society. In 10 local communities the security sector and women’s civil society supported consultations ad workshops on the efficacy of security services by local police, the representation of women in police, respect for human rights, monitoring of institutions providing security service and ways to bring the initiative to the local level. Mulitple trainings were held for responsible institutions and actors to be able to carry out the reforms with a gender perspective.Police structures at central and entity level instituted a process of consultation with women’s organization on effective mechanisms and services to protect women and girls from violence particularly from sexual violence. A referral system and memorandum of understanding was also signed between the police, the social welfare center, and women’s shelter which allowed 10 shelters in different cities to be financed through entity and county budgets.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
In mid-2008 the security institutions began to be more open to cooperation with women’s civil society to consider how to improve service delivery to women and by beginning of 2010 cooperation was fully under way. A technical coordination board between security sector institutions and women’s civil society was formed and activities and goals agreed upon.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
Political will and funding were at times key challenges that were overcome by working closely with the national ministries and approaching various donors together with civil society.The other obstacles to ensuring that women’s human rights are considered in the design of services offered by police and military are the strong patriarchal culture in Bosnia, traditional prejudices, gender based violence and domestic violence, and the marginalization of women in political life of the country.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
The programme was financed through regular government budget, as well as through support from the governments of USA, EU countries, NATO, OSCE, EUFOR, EUPM, UNDP, UN Women. Overall cost to date has been approximately 100 000 USD.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
The initiative began in pilot districts and is spreading throughout the country from the national to the entity level. Other countries could learn from the example to undertake reform of security services.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
The lesson learned is the fundamental importance of the inclusion of women and their organizations in the process of security sector reform which aim should not least be to create a more accountable security sector addressing women’s security needs. Women and their civic organizations as well as organizations dealing with gender rights are important participants in the realization of safe and secure environment at the local level because of their assistance to victims of gender based violence, established connections with the security institutions and contribution to work aimed at eliminating insecurity by peaceful resolution and prevention of conflicts and gender-based violence. These organizations often collect or have access to detailed information about the security situation at the local level as well as the needs of the local women and accountability gaps in terms of security, and can serve as a liaison between local communities and the key actors in the field of security. Another lesson learned was that taking into account a gender perspective within overall reform of the delivery of security services is linked to modernization, anti-corruption and respect for human rights.

The inclusion of a greater number of women in decision-making positions within the management structure of the security sector was also an important impact. Noticeable is also the increase in the number of women soldiers and police officers in BiH peacekeeping missions and a growing interest among the leadership within the military and the police to appoint gender focal points to serve the aim of strengthening accountability, efficiency and respect for human rights and the rule of law, and ensuring greater inclusion of women in the defense and the security establishment.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Ankica Tomic
Title:   Head of Department for International Cooperation  
Telephone/ Fax:   +38733492442;+38733492796
Institution's / Project's Website:
Address:   Trg BiH 1
Postal Code:   71000
City:   Sarajevo
State/Province:   Federation
Country:   Bosnia and Herzegovina

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