Having in mind the importance of public advocacy for the promotion and protection of human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the project team of the Contribution of the Academic Community to the Protection of Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina – CAHR project, on March 25, 2022 in Banja Luka, held the third training titled “Introduction to Public Advocacy”. As for the previous two trainings, the training in Banja Luka was intended for representatives of civil society organizations and the academic community.
The focus of the training was on strengthening the capacity of representatives of civil society organizations and academia in the field of public advocacy, as well as encouraging mutual cooperation and future joint activities of civil society organizations and academia, bearing in mind the common goal: promotion and protection of human rights of citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition to the main topic (public advocacy), the participants discussed other topics important for their work and activities, such as the importance and work of the Institution of the Human Rights Ombudsperson in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the expectations of citizens, civil society organizations and academia from the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the field of human rights protection. Through group work and group assignments, training participants worked on defining goals, setting tasks, and developing advocacy tactics, advocacy plan, and advocacy messages. During the group work, participants discussed insufficient sensitization of institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina to victims, revictimization and secondary victimization of victims, as well as inequality of citizens before the law (different position and rights of civilian and military victims of war, unresolved legal status of civilian victims of war). Furthermore, the second group of participants discussed the problem of discrimination in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the passivity of institutions in the prevention of discriminatory practices and changes in discriminatory legal provisions.
During the last part of the training, participants discussed the joint action of civil society organizations and academia, the strength of coalitions and public advocacy in the work and activities. By joining its resources, skills and knowledge, academia and civil society can make a significant contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In May 2022, two additional trainings within the CAHR project, which is supported by the European Union, will be held in Mostar and Bihać.