Women’s Initiative For Constitutional Reform From A Gender Perspective (October 2013)

In October 2013, 17 women’s organisations in Bosnia-Herzegovina published a ‘Platform of Women’s Priorities for Constitutional Reform and Amendments to the Constitution of Bosnia & Herzegovina from a Gender Perspective’, calling for the constitution to be reformed around principles of social justice, the rule of law and direct democracy. The amendments were simultaneously published in B/C/S and English, and the original English version is used here.

Introduction

The Trans-cultural and Psycho-social Organization (TPO), Helsinki Citizens Assembly Banja Luka and United Women Banja Luka, in cooperation with their partner organizations, have started the “Women’s Initiative for Constitutional Reform”, which advocates for reform of the BiH Constitution from a gender perspective.

The initiative gathers civil society organizations and activists that consistently work to promote understanding of the concepts of sex and gender, peace, freedom and human rights, and who seek through this effort to achieve the egalitarian and rightful participation of women and men in the private and public spheres of life in BiH.

Members of the Initiative believe that the reform of the Constitution of BiH must not represent the consensus of political actors only, but also the consensus of all citizens discussing essential issues to define the future framework for a common life. With respect to this goal, the constitutional reform process must equally include women and men.

Despite all the initiatives for BiH Constitutional reform until now, few of them addressed gender equality, while gender and gender equality were almost completely omitted in discussions about constitutional reform, as the focus was mainly on stopping discrimination based on ethnicity and nationality.

The “Women’s Initiative for Constitutional Reform” promotes the highest values of social justice, the rule of law and direct democracy as fundamental values that together will guarantee the improvement of living standards and political stabilization in BiH.

Respect for human rights represents a basic requirement for the progress and development of every society, and ensuring equal opportunities for men and women is a requirement for a democratic society.

The members of the “Women’s Initiative for Constitutional Reform” have defined five priorities within the reform process of the Constitution of BiH, and have created gender-sensitive Amendments on this basis:

  1. Application of gender inclusive language in the Constitution of BiH;
  2. Introduction of affirmative action principles in the Constitution of BiH to work towards full gender equality;
  3. Amendments to the existing catalog of fundamental rights, to include provisions with respect to common health care services, social and family care;
  4. Affirmation of a higher level of judicial and legal protection of human rights and liberties, and
  5. Introduction of the principle of direct democracy in the process of constitutional reform.

1. Application of the gender inclusive language in the Constitution of BiH

The language and grammar used in the Constitution of BiH do not demonstrate the existence of the feminine gender in our languages, lacking, for example, the equality of women and men in BiH in fulfilling their rights and liberties. As language also represents the reflection of power, within the Constitutional reform process it is necessary to opt for the use of either both sexes, or to introduce the pronoun “all”, “everyone,” or nouns such as, “persons”, “individuals” or similar, thereby providing full equality in the use of masculine and feminine genders, while at the same time acknowledging the spirit of our mother tongues. The importance of using the gender-responsible language in the text of the Constitution is in itself a first step towards the elimination of discrimination and the invisibility of women in society.

Gender inclusive language is justified by the fact that the B/C/S languages apply the rule of placing words in a sentence in accordance with the formal grammatical categories, placing the subject and (nominal) predicate by gender and number; the fact that masculine, feminine and neuter genders exists in the grammar requires general acceptance and application of the rules of congruence.

2. Introduction of affirmative action principles in the Constitution of BiH to work towards full gender and sex equality

The State of BiH must guarantee its citizens equal rights and equal opportunities, as well as equal access to resources needed to attain full equality.

The introduction of affirmative action principles in the Constitution of BiH implies the introduction of actions in the context of gender and sex equality to contribute to the ultimate equalization of the less represented sex and gender. Such positive action will serve as a catalyst to establish policies based on equal opportunities, grounded in a state framework of rights and responsibilities, as well as in practical, responsible implementation.

Those actions can be applied in different areas where discrimination on the basis of sex and gender has been noted (such as employment, labor rights, election rights or parental rights). Such actions are in accordance with existing legal frameworks which already contain provisions for preferential treatment.*

* Preferential treatment exists in the Law on Gender Equality in BiH and Election Law, through establishment of a compulsory gender quota for the less represented gender.

3. Broadening of the existing catalog of rights with provisions related to health care services, social and family care

Due to the lack of harmonized laws at the entity, cantonal and municipal levels, social security and health protection systems are unequal for every one.

Guided by international documents signed and ratified by the state, as well as by the commitment to ensure harmonization of laws and regulations with the legal system of European Union, BiH has a binding commitment to implement human rights standards in the areas of health care services and social care.

In Article II of the Constitution of BiH, on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the right to health care for citizens has not been foreseen as a specially determined right. Health care in that sense is provided at the entity and/or cantonal level.

It is critical to broaden the existing catalogue of the fundamental rights with provisions guaranteeing the specific rights of women in the private and public spheres. Such rights include: prohibition of sex and gender based violence; gender identity and sexual orientation; equal rights of men and women for marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution; freedom of decision in reproductive health; special protection for mothers and single parents, as well as employment protection of women during pregnancy and maternity leave.*

Further, in addition to Bosnia and Herzegovina being constitutionally defined as a democratic state, it is necessary to add the term “social” (Article 1, paragraph 2)[2],  to establish a suitable framework and ensure full gender equality as a part of the social justice and equality guaranteed by the social state.

* This measure of protection is especially guaranteed by the Article 11, paragraph 2 of the The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979).

** Article 1, paragraph 2 of the Constitution of BiH: “Bosnia and Herzegovina shall be a democratic state, which shall operate under the rule of law and with free and democratic elections.” As well as in the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina as the Annex 4 of the General Agreement for Peace (GFAP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. OHR, Office of the High Representative. Sarajevo.

4. Higher level of judicial and legal protection of human rights and liberties.

Although the Constitution of BiH in its first sentence on human rights says that (…) “All persons within the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall enjoy the human rights and fundamental freedoms referred to in paragraph 2 above,” (Article 2, paragraph 3), this is not provided in either legislation for the whole territory of BiH, nor in the implementation and exercise of those rights. In its formulation, the Constitution of BiH gives preference to collective rights of the constitutive peoples as opposed to individual, civil rights. “The general right to equality is mentioned, in a characteristic manner, on a top spot on the list of fundamental human rights. Thus, this is some kind of compensation for the major source of suffering of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a political product, which is, namely, the strict differentiation amongst members of the three constituent peoples.”* It is, therefore, important that constitutional reform guarantees individual rights in all segments of work in BiH, respecting all international standards.

Furthermore, it is necessary to explicitly ensure the principle of equality of all before all courts, and in all judicial proceedings, in BiH.

It is necessary to add provisions to the Constitution of BiH to ensure judicial and legal protection of human rights and liberties, but also the possibility to initiate individual appeals before the Constitutional Court of BiH in cases of violation of these constitutionally guaranteed rights, which, in comparison to constitutions of other modern democracies, is missing in the present Constitution of BiH. The state must guarantee the highest degree of protection of fundamental human rights and liberties, to enable the peaceful reintegration of the political system of the country.

* Hartwig, Matthias. Opinion on the draft Amendments to the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Heidelberg 2007, p.6.

5. Principle of the direct democracy in the process of constitutional reform (submission of citizens’ initiatives for changes and amendments to the Constitution).

Modern societies defined as democracies are societies in which mechanisms of direct democracy are established. The principle of individuals as the basis for the organization of society is implicit in discussions of direct/indirect forms of democracy. Direct or indirect democracy constitute a form of governance, where a society has a chance to jointly decide on all issues of a public interest. The Constitution of BiH does not provide for direct democracy since Article 10 (“Amendment”) does not include the possibility for citizens to launch initiatives for constitutional changes and amendments. Therefore, individuals, from the perspective of the common citizens, are deprived of the possibility to influence and secure their own basic rights.

In the current constitutional structure,  citizens’ participation in the processes of decision-making in BiH at the state level is defined solely through indirect election of the members of House of Representatives* of the Parliamentary Assembly and the members of the Presidency. The Constitution of BiH does not include a single mechanism through which citizens directly express their political will, although numerous international agreements ratified by BiH serve as a basis for the indirect participation of citizens in the decision-making process.

Through direct participation in the democratic process (through plebiscites, referendums, people’s initiatives, people’s vetos, citizens’ assemblies/fora), citizens can play a more active role though direct political and civil engagement, thereby ending the monopoly of decision-making solely by the political. Through such mechanisms, citizens are acknowledged as the highest actors in a state, reflecting the highest values of a democratic society and an ideal towards which the Constitution of BiH must strive.

* Article 4, paragraph 2, of the Constitution of BiH: ”The House of Representatives shall comprise 42 Members, two-thirds elected from the territory of the Federation, one-third from the territory of the Republika Srpska.
a) Members of the House of Representatives shall be directly elected from their Entity in accordance with an election law to be adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly. The first election, however, shall take place in accordance with Annex 3 to the General Framework Agreement.
Article 5 of the Constitution of BiH: “The Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall consist of three Members: one Bosniac and one Croat, each directly elected from the territory of the Federation, and one Serb directly elected from the territory of the Republika Srpska.”
The Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina as the Annex 4. of the General Agreement for Peace (GFAP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. OHR, Office of the High Representative. Sarajevo.

Proposal for gender sensitive amendments to the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Constitutional reform that addresses the complex political, economic and social context of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the human rights environment, in particular related to gender equality issues, and the requirements of the European Union roadmap, undoubtedly demands the adoption of a completely new BiH Constitution. The existing text does not provide the opportunity for a significant improvement of the Constitution through amendments, as adoption of the large number of amendments that are needed would ultimately result in a substantially different Constitutional order. However, considering that in BiH step-by-step change is more likely, the text below offers a proposal for possible amendments to the BiH Constitution, which would largely improve gender equality in BiH.

 Amendment II

 Article 1, paragraph 2.

“Bosnia and Herzegovina shall be a democratic state, which shall operate under the rule of law and with free and democratic elections”, is to be changed to insert the word ”and social“ in between the words “democratic” and “state”. The rest of the sentence is to remain unchanged.

Explanation

Through this amendment, BiH is defined as a democratic and social state, founded on the principles of rule of law and social justice. This is necessary in order to create a conducive legal framework and to ensure full gender equality, as part of social justice and equity guaranteed by the social state.

Amendment III

Article 1, paragraph 7. 

“There shall be a citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to be regulated by the Parliamentary Assembly, and a citizenship of each Entity, to be regulated by each Entity, provided that:

a) All citizens of either Entity are thereby citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina“, to be changed to insert behind the noun “citizen”, written in masculine form, the feminine form of the same word (“državljanke”). The rest of the sentence is to remain unchanged.

e) ”A citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina abroad shall enjoy the protection of Bosnia and Herzegovina.“ Behind the word “citizen”, written in masculine form, the feminine form of the same word must be added (“građanka)”. 

Explanation

In this amendment, besides the masculine form of the word “citizen”, its feminine form is added (“državljanka”) to emphasize gender equality.

Amendment IV

In Article II, point 3, the text “All persons within the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall enjoy the human rights and fundamental freedoms referred to in paragraph 2 above; these include:;“ is to be changed to delete the words ”these include“ and add: ”in accordance with international resolutions and laws of BiH. To accomplish compliance with international standards and improvements of the policy of equal rights and gender equality, it is permissible to take special measures (or affirmative measures).”

Explanation     

The Amendment of point 3 of this Article includes gender equality as one of the basic human rights values, in accordance with international resolutions that are an integral part of the BiH Constitution. The full right of equal opportunities and equal treatment is accentuated and the application of affirmative measures is foreseen (positive discrimination measures), complying with the international standards.

Amendment V

In Article II, paragraph 3, point a) “The right to life”, to add the text: All persons shall enjoy the right to life free of discrimination of any kind.”

point b) “The right not to be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”, to amend with a new sentence: “All persons shall enjoy the right to life without violence. Different (all) forms of gender and sex based violence in public and private life shall be prohibited.“

point d) “The rights to liberty and security of person” to amend with the new sentence: “Women and men live freely and no one has the right to forcefully deprive them of liberty, except in legally regulated situations.”

point e) “The right to a fair hearing in civil and criminal matters, and other rights relating to criminal proceedings.” to amend with the new sentence: “Women and men are equal before the courts and in legal proceedings”.

Point f) “The right to private and family life, home, and correspondence” to amend with the new sentence: “The freedom to enjoy private correspondence, in all communications, shall be guaranteed to both men and women”.

Point i) ”Freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association with others” to amend with the new sentence: “Women and men shall enjoy equal rights to associate with others, as well as the freedom to abolish such associations, under the conditions regulated by law.“

Point j) “The right to marry and to found a family” to amend with the new sentences: “All persons shall have the right to marry and to found a family of their own choice. Women shall have the right to give birth. Both mother and father shall have equal rights and commitments about birth, parenthood and child care.“

Point k) “The right to property” to amend with the new sentence: “Women and men shall have equal rights to own, use, and freely dispose of lawfully acquired possessions”.

Point l) “The right to education” to amend with the new sentence: “Women and men shall have equal right to education (under equal conditions), without discrimination or segregation of any kind“.

Point m) “The right to liberty of movement and residence” to amend with the new sentences: “Women and men shall have equal rights to freely choose their residence and to enjoy full freedom of movement. Freedom of movement for men and women can be restricted by the law, only as a necessary measure due to criminal proceedings or protection of the safety and health of the people“.

 Additional point n) to be added

 n) “All persons shall have the right to decide about their own reproductive rights and health, without discrimination, compulsion or violence.“

Explanation

The fundamental rights included in the BiH Constitution only represent basic rights and freedoms. However, the suggested amendments and changes provide visibility to both men and women as subjects of these rights and liberties. Such amendments and changes shall create a constitutional basis for the elimination of any existing discrimination in the mentioned fields, which is also very much present in life and work.

Along the fundamental rights existing in the BiH Constitution, it is necessary to add text which would regulate several more civil and political rights and liberties.

Amendment VI

In Article II, point 3, new text is to be added as follows:

„- Men and women in BiH are equal and egalitarian before the law, and shall enjoy equal rights in all areas.

– All persons shall enjoy the freedom to establish and belong to a political party under equal conditions. 

– All persons shall have the right to appeal, including the right to apply for an appeal, and submit a complaint, proposal and petition before the state authorities;

– All persons, regardless of sex and gender, shall have the right to legal defense in cases when rights or legitimate interests of those persons are violated or jeopardized. Victims of domestic violence have the right to free legal aid.

– The right to equal access to public services and information, free of discrimination of any kind.“

Explanation

This amendment broadens civil and political rights and provides equal access to the law and courts, as well as a legal and court system free of discrimination of any kind.

Amendment VII

In Article II, point 3, to add a chapter “Economic, social and cultural rights and liberties.“

„- All men and women shall be guaranteed the right to work, right to favorable remuneration, right to favorable conditions of work, right to medical (health) care, right to social security and social protection. Pregnant women, mothers and single parents with children up to 7 years of age have the right to budget-financed health care if they don’t benefit from another source;

– All qualified persons with disabilities shall be entitled to the right to help;

– The right to special protection of persons with disabilities and their full and effective integration in society;

– The right of workers (feminine form of the word “worker” added) to participate in decision-making processes in business enterprises;

– All persons shall have the liberty to use the language of their own choice and freely participate in cultural life;

– All persons shall have the right to identify with the cultural, ethnic and religious belonging of their own affiliation, and no one shall be forced to identify with some other cultural, ethnic or religious affiliation;

– All persons shall have the right to engage in work and to pursue a freely chosen or accepted occupation, and all workplaces and occupations shall be accessible to both men and women under the same conditions, with the possibility of applying affirmative measures, in accordance with the law.

– A work relationship can be terminated against the consent of an employee only in the manner and under the conditions prescribed by the law and collective agreements, excluding the pregnancy of a female worker and maternity leave;

– All persons employed shall have the right to remuneration in accordance with the law and collective agreements. Men and women shall have equal rights to favorable remuneration for the same labor or labor of an equal value;

– All persons employed shall have the right to just and adequate working conditions;

– Women shall have the right to special protection during a pregnancy and following the birth;

All economic or sexual exploitation of an individual in an unfavorable position is considered as forced work, and as such is forbidden and punishable;

– Both parents shall have equal rights and duty to protection, care and upbringing of their children and the care of their family;

– Male and female workers shall have the right to join trade unions and the right to strike in accordance with the law;

– Everyone is entitled to the liberty to conduct scientific research;

– Everyone is entitled to freedom of artistic expression.“

Explanation

To achieve equality in enjoying rights for women and men, it is necessary to expand the list of fundamental rights in Article II, point 3. This amendment in particular includes labor and social rights, as well as the rights deriving from work relationships, such as maternity leave, work conditions, and rights on the basis of invalidity, family care and similar.

Amendment VIII

Article II, point 4.

“The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms provided for in this Article or in the international agreements listed in Annex I to this Constitution shall be secured to all persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, color, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.”, to be changed by adding “age, invalidity, sexual orientation, health, trade union membership, “behind the word “religion”; the rest of the sentence remains unchanged.

Explanation   

In this article the basis for acts of discrimination has been extended to age, invalidity, sexual orientation, health, and trade union membership.

Amendment IX

Article IV, point 1, is to be changed as follows: The House of Peoples shall comprise 18 Delegates (5 Serbs, 5 Croats, 5 Bosniacs, 3 Others*), two-thirds from Federation and one-third from Republika Srpska.

Paragraph a) is to be changed as follows: “House of Peoples of the BiH Parliamentary Assembly compiles a single list with the names of delegates nominated by the RS National Assembly and FBiH Parliament. House of Representatives provides an opinion on the list. 

Paragraph b) is to be changed as follows: Eleven members of the House of Peoples shall comprise a quorum, provided that at least three Bosniac, three Croat, three Serb Delegates (feminine form of the word delegate has been included) and one from the “Others” (feminine form for other added as well) are present.

Article IV, paragraph 1, to add point c) as follows: The House of Peoples shall comprise of Delegates elected reflecting gender diversity in accordance with the Law.

Article IV, paragraph 2 a) “Members of the House of Representatives shall be directly elected from their Entity in accordance with an election law to be adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly. The first election, however, shall take place in accordance with Annex 3 to the General Framework Agreement.“, is to be changed as follows: “Members of the House of Representatives (feminine form of the word member has been included) shall be directly elected in both entities in accordance with BiH Election law and principles of equal gender representation.“

Article IV, paragraph 3, point b) “Each chamber shall by majority vote adopt its internal rules and select from its members one Serb, one Bosniac, and one Croat to serve as its Chair and Deputy Chairs, with the position of Chair rotating among the three persons selected.“, is to be changed as follows: “Each chamber shall by majority vote adopt its internal rules of procedures and select from its members (feminine form of the word member added) one person to serve as its Chair and Deputy Chairs, taking into account that elected representatives cannot be from the same peoples and minorities, with obligatory consideration of principles of gender equality.

Explanation

In the Article IV, point 1, the number of delegates has been increased to 18, by adding three from “Others”. In the point a) procedures for nomination and election of delegates has been changed; in the point b) quorum has been changed. Point c) is added with compulsory equal representation of men and women in the election process for the House of Peoples and House of Representatives.

In paragraph 2 and 3, points a) and b), also add compulsory consideration of the gender diversity, with respect of election of representatives of all three peoples and minorities.

* feminine forms added in cases of national determination, as well as for word delegate

Amendment X

In Article IV after point 3 (procedures), new point 4 (direct vote) is to be added, as follows:

Citizens’ Initiative          

50 000 BiH citizens who are eligible voters, with at least 15,000 votes in each Entity, can propose an amendment to the Constitution, a change in any state law or an international agreement through a citizens’ initiative, within the timeframe of 18 months after the initiative is announced.

A citizens’ initiative can be formally announced only after a draft proposal is accepted by the Constitutional Court within three months of its submission. The Constitutional Court annuls the draft if it collides with a bonding international law, or violates the vital national interests of the Constituent Peoples and the Others, or if it is not in respect of the peculiarity of the issue.

If the draft is not annulled by the Constitutional Court, citizens vote on the initiative through a direct vote and within 12 months from the submission of the required number of signatures. The initiative is accepted if it is supported by at least 60% of the citizens that cast the vote, out of which at least 30% are from each Entity.

The Parliamentary Assembly can give a non-binding suggestion to the citizens to accept or reject the proposed citizens’ initiative, and can also put forward its own proposal. The vote outcome is binding.

Referendum

Any change in the Constitution, BiH’s accession to inter-state communities and collective security organizations decided by the Parliamentary Assembly can be put to direct vote if 25,000 citizens, including 7500 citizens from each entity, (among citizens with voting rights) request it, within 100 days from the day the law or agreement is published in the Official Gazette of BiH. The vote is organized within the following three months. The referendum is successful if it is supported by at least 50% of BiH citizens that cast a vote, including at least 25% from each entity. The vote outcome is binding.”

The current  point 4 shall become point 5.

Explanation

The Amendment X introduces two more forms of direct democracy into the BiH constitutional system – referenda and citizen’s initiative, that enable direct civic participation in decision making processes related to issues of importance to BiH. Both of these are to be used for deciding on issues that fall within the competencies of the BiH Parliamentary Assembly. This is to be more precisely determined by the state law.

Amendment XI

Article V, “The Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall consist of three Members: one Bosniac and one Croat, each directly elected from the territory of the Federation, and one Serb directly elected from the territory of the Republika Srpska“, is to be changed as follows: “The Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall consist of three Members (feminine form of the word member added), each directly elected from the territory of the entire BiH, representing constitutient peoples and minority representatives. The elected member (feminine form of the word member added) for the Presidency of BiH must represent different peoples and minorities.“ Every voter shall have one vote.

Article V, paragraph 3, point b) “Appointing ambassadors and other international representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, no more than two-thirds of whom may be selected from the territory of the Federation”, is to be changed as follows: “Appointing ambassadors (feminine form of the word ambassador added) and other international representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, no more than two-thirds of whom may be selected from the territory of the Federation, with obligatory consideration of respecting the principle of gender equality.“

Article V, paragraph 4. “The Presidency shall nominate the Chair of the Council of Ministers, who shall take office upon the approval of the House of Representatives. The Chair shall nominate a Foreign Minister, a Minister for Foreign Trade, and other Ministers as may be appropriate, who shall take office upon the approval of the House of Representatives.“, is to be changed as follows: “The Presidency shall nominate the Chair of the Council of Ministers (feminine form of the word Chair added), who shall take office upon the approval of the House of Representatives. The Chair (feminine form of the word Chair added) shall nominate a Foreign Minister, a Minister for Foreign Trade, and other Ministers as may be appropriate (feminine form of the word Minister added), with obligatory consideration of respecting the principle of gender representation, who shall take office upon the approval of the House of Representatives.“

Article V, paragraph 4, point b) “No more than two-thirds of all Ministers may be appointed from the territory of the Federation. The Chair shall also nominate Deputy Ministers (who shall not be of the same constituent people as their Ministers), who shall take office upon the approval of the House of Representatives. ”, is to be changed as follows: b) “No more than two-thirds of all Ministers (feminine form of the word Minister added) may be appointed from the territory of the Federation. The Chair (feminine form of the word Chair added) shall also nominate Deputy Ministers (who shall not be of the same constituent people and minorities as their Ministers (feminine form of the word Minister added)), with obligatory consideration of respecting the principle of gender equality, who shall take office upon the approval of the House of Representatives.“

Article V, paragraph 4, point 5. “Each member of the Presidency shall, by virtue of the office, have civilian command authority over the armed forces“, is to be changed by adding the feminine form of the word member. ”

Explanation

All paragraphs of the Article V shall be altered by adding the feminine form of the nouns to indicate equal representation of men and women in the process of election of members of the BiH Presidency, ambassadors and other officials. This amendment also meets the requirements of the ruling of the Sejdić-Finci case, as well as the expected ruling in the Pilav case. The proposal is for BiH to be a single election unit, and the elected Presidency members have to come from different peoples and minorities. This electoral system guarantees that every voter’s choice holds the same value.

Amendment XII

Article VI, paragraph 1, after point d) the new point e) is to be added:“Appointments of judges of the Constitutional Court shall take into consideration gender equality and representation.“

Explanation

This amendment provides gender equality in the process of appointment of judges.

Amendment XIII

In Article VII, point 3 ”Thereafter, the Governing Board of the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall consist of five persons appointed by the Presidency for a term of six years. The Board shall appoint, from among its members, a Governor for a term of six years.“, after the word “Governor” to add feminine form of this noun, and behind the word “five persons“, to add “of a different gender“, remaining text to be unchanged.

Explanation

This amendment provides that the composition of the Governing Board, and the appointment of the Governor, will consider the principles of gender equality.

Amendment XIV

Article IX, point 3,”Officials appointed to positions in the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall be generally representative of the peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”, is to be amended by inserting, after “peoples of BiH”, the text that follows: ”as well as the gender structure of the BiH population“.

Explanation

This amendment provides for equal selection of BiH Officials that represent both men and women.


The “Women’s Initiative for Constitutional Reforms” is an informal group of women’s non-governmental organizations, women’s groups, stemmed from the following projects:

  1. “Contribution to constitutional reform in BiH – Equal opportunities for women and men in politics” (funded by the Swiss Embassy);
  2. “Woman and law today” (funded by “Kvinna till Kvinna”, Sweden);
  3. “Constitutional Reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Engaging Civil Society” (funded by USAID).

The Initiative is supported by the following organizations:

 TPO Foundation Sarajevo, United Women Foundation Banja Luka, Helsinki Citizens Assembly Banja Luka, Forum žena Bratunac, Budućnost Modriča, Forma F Mostar, Rights for all Sarajevo, Fondacija bosanskohercegovačka inicijativa žena, Sarajevo Open Centre, Fondacija CURE, Vive žene Tuzla, Udruženje građanki Grahovo, Krajiška suza Sanski Most, Organizacija žena Lara Bijeljina, Glas žene Bihać, Medica Zenica, the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG).

 The Initiative is financially supported by:

Embassy of Switzerland; Kvinna till Kvinna; USAID; PILPG.

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One response to “Women’s Initiative For Constitutional Reform From A Gender Perspective (October 2013)

  1. A powerful document…so many media images and accounts of the protests have been obscuring women’s strong participation, analysis, and vision for a new BiH. This is a welcome corrective to male-centered narratives in which all the key players appear to be angry young men, riot police, or powerful male elites.

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