Children’s rights are human rights that are not prioritized in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A group of young people and children from all over the country has become actively involved in solving issues related to children’s rights in BiH. The Platform for the Advancement of Children’s Rights is very helpful, as it makes information in this field available. Through the Platform, they can talk to their peers and government representatives and advocate for solutions to various problems.
Amina Kahriman, project assistant and representative of the Sarajevo association Naša Djeca [Our Children], explained that children and young people are largely left out of procedures concerning their welfare. She added that the Platform gives them the opportunity to speak their mind, raise suggestions, and identify problems and possible solutions.
“They have a unique place that is a safe space for their activities, which helps them highlight the needs that appear as they grow up and mature,” said Kahriman.
On the website of the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Platform for the Advancement of Children’s Rights can be found in the Human Rights section. It is part of the project to improve children’s rights called “Povezivanje Tačaka [Connecting the Dots],” which is financed by the European Union. The project is being implemented by the World Vision BH Foundation and Naša Djeca in cooperation with the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees of BiH.
Nela Hukić, project manager and representative of the World Vision BH Foundation, explained that the project aims to help solve one of the biggest problems related to children’s rights in BiH – the lack of an adequate and efficient coordination mechanism between government institutions, civil society organizations, independent monitoring bodies, and the academic community in our country. It also works to increase the overall responsibility towards children in BiH communities and give children more direct input in decision-making processes on issues that concern them.
Children and youth are included in this project through the Children and Youth (CAY) Committee. The Committee allows children and young people from 20 cities in BiH to voice their views, requests, and initiatives to decision makers and the Council for Children of BiH. Together, they advocate for solutions to problems and improvements in children’s rights. In the immediate future, they will be implementing projects within their local communities and working on solving existing problems.
One of the members of the CAY board is Eldin Osmanović from Kalesija. He emphasized the importance of this Platform.
“I believe that the time has finally come when children and young people will be able to express their opinion and be heard. For a long time, our future and our rights have been being discussed by people who don’t even know our true needs. With this Platform, I have the opportunity to fight for my rights and the rights of other children in our community who are marginalized,” said Osmanović.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which obliges decision-makers to ensure an environment in which children can develop and express their own opinions and attitudes. By increasing children’s participation in decision-making, we improve their situation in society and raise active citizens who will continue to fight for equality and human rights.