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Civil society initiatives

Since 2014, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights – Research Association (BIM-FV) has been supporting civil society initiatives to support informal groups and grass-root movements in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The main priority of this effort is that the citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina become proactive agents of change at the local level in order to strengthen civil society and ensure a better access to human rights and social justice.

After the Conference “Civil Society as a Factor for Change in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, which was organised by the BIM-FV in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, ERSTE Foundation, Renner Institute, Central European Initiative, the EU Special Representative in BiH and the British Embassy in 2014 in Vienna, follow-up activities have taken place since 2015 aiming to continue supporting informal civic groups and grass-root initiatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Supporting the citizens means setting free their potential to act as agents of change at the micro-level, enabling them to challenge the ineffective and gridlocked system in the country.

BIM-FV is acting as the linking unit and coordinator between the informal civic groups and project partners. Seven selected groups - the Movement of the Citizens in Gračanica, Plenum Bosanska Krupa, Plenum Zenica, Sindikat Solidarnosti (Workers' Union Tuzla), Srebrenik je naš (Srebrenik is ours), Banja Luka Social Centre BASOC and the Informal Citizens' Group for Social Justice Prijedor - receive financial support from project partners (ERSTE Foundation and the Swiss Embassy in Sarajevo) in order to implement different activities according to the needs identified at the local level. This way, more effective and strong citizens' networks will be established based on the principles of participation and ownership, empowering civil society in a long term.

The work of the groups encloses a wide range of activities, from establishing a permanent basis for encountering and networking in the plena to organising public discussions and awareness raising activities in order to include more citizens and encourage them to take action. The groups have developed mechanisms for reporting and detecting cases of corruption in an anonymous way, monitoring the meetings and decisions of the municipal councils including the use of public funds and thus acting as public watchdogs in their local communities.

The initiative is embedded in a wider framework. Activists from the civic movements in Bosnia and Herzegovina are part of the Civil Society Forum, which is an important second-track platform in the Berlin Process, launched in 2014 as a five-year process marked by yearly Western Balkans Summits in order to underline the political commitment to EU enlargement for the Western Balkans region.

Follow-up meeting in Bosanska Krupa, 27 March 2017

Bosanska Krupa, 27 March 2017, Copyright (c) BIM

In the framework of the initiative to support Bosnian grass-root initiatives and civic movements, the third follow-up meeting took place on 27 March 2017 in Bosanska Krupa, in the north of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On invitation of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights - Research Association (BIM-FV) and in close cooperation with the Plenum in Bosanska Krupa, the seven groups which are supported by the BIM-FV and like-minded partners (ERSTE Foundation, Swiss Embassy In Sarajevo and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs) gathered to look back and present the results achieved during the last six months. The Swiss Embassy in Sarajevo was represented by Mrs Azra Šarenkapa.

Follow-up meeting in Zenica, 13 July 2016

Follow-up meeting in Zenica

One year after the informal groups and grass-root movements had received financial grants for the implementation of their activities, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights – Research Association (BIM-FV) organised a meeting in cooperation with the Plenum in Zenica. The aim of the meeting was to present the achieved results and to discuss sustainable solutions for the further engagement of the informal groups. 

Follow-up Meeting in Banja Luka, 25 January 2016

In the framework of the civil society initiative to support informal groups and grass-root movements in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a meeting took place on 25 January 2016 in Banja Luka with the aim to present the first outcomes. The eight selected groups (Plenum Zenica, Citizens’ Movement Gračanica, Plenum Bosanska Krupa, Banja Luka Social Centre BASOC, the Informal Groups for Social Justice Prijedor, the Workers’ Union Sindikat Solidarnosti, the Informal Group Srebrenik belongs to us and the Network 5f7) presented the first outcomes of their engagement during the first implementation period (July to December 2015).

BIM Position No. 4 | 2014: towards the elections of Bosnia and Herzegovina

On sunday, 12th Oct. 2014, general elections took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). According to current figures, only 53% of the population went to the polls after a tense and well-known dichotomy and nationalist-ethnic diskurs underpinned campaign. Nationalist-minded parties obtained again the majority of votes. The general athmosphere in the country is rather negative and pessimistic as it is clear for everyone that the inhabiters have nothing to lose anymore. The time of stagnation is expired.

Civil Society as a Factor for Change in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Conference 8-10 September 2014

Conference participants

Following the Bosnian mass protests earlier this year, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights initiated a process of support to the Bosnian civil society. In this context the conference “Civil Society as a Factor for Change in Bosnia and Herzegovina” took place from 8th to 10th September 2014 in Vienna. The BIM was commissioned by the Austrian Foreign Minister, Sebastian Kurz, to organise this conference in cooperation with the Austrian Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs and the Karl Renner Institute. As an opening event the Minister invited 30 civil society actors from different regions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Bosnian diaspora and Austrian and international partners to a reception.

Bosnia and Herzegovina ahead of the elections 2014: the Civil Society Movement as a factor for Change?

The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights (BIM), in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (BMeiA), has organised a panel discussion on 12th June 2014 on the political and economic situation and the role of civil society in the political process in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) ahead of the October elections: "Bosnia and Herzegovina ahead of the elections 2014: the Civil Society Movement as a factor for Change?"

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