After the first workshop that was held in East Sarajevo, the University of Business Engineering and Management and the Association for Democratic Initiatives held the second workshop for development of advocacy plan on September 28, 2021 in Banja Luka.
During the second workshop, members of the CAHR network which work in Banja Luka, Bihać, Cazin and Prijedor areas discussed current challenges and obstacles in exercising the right to freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of movement. The first part of the workshop was dedicated to the introduction to the topic of advocacy as an activist principle in the service of human rights, after which the author of the study Prof. Dr. Aleksandar R. Ivanović briefly presented the most important conclusions and recommendations of the “Study on Mapping Institutional Violations of Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina”.
In the second part of the workshop, network members discussed the restrictions of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of movement for citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina during 2020 (during a state of emergency), as well as cases of restriction of these rights to vulnerable categories of population. During the discussion on the freedom of peaceful assembly, the participants concluded that it is necessary to find a balance between the need to protect public order and peace and the right of citizens to express their opinion. Additionally, during the discussion, participants discussed proving and documenting fake/false news, given that, in some cases, citizens were given misdemeanor punishments in cases when they expressed their opinions. Therefore, one of the conclusions is that the police and the judiciary do not have enough knowledge about standards and proving when it comes to proving false news, and that the laws in Bosnia and Herzegovina need to be more precise and prescribe all the evidence needed to get a misdemeanor punishment in these cases.
In the last part of the workshop, the members of the CAHR network worked in groups and further specified the specific problems and goals of the advocacy plan, after which the representatives of the groups presented their conclusions. During the workshop, five (5) specific problems/objectives were defined that will serve to further refine the advocacy plan. The next workshop for development of advocacy plan will be held in Tuzla, October 6, 2021.
The workshop for the development of the advocacy plan was held within the project “Contribution of the Academic Community to the Protection of Human Rights in BiH – CAHR“, with the support of the European Union.