Bosnia and Herzegovina is a Member State of the Council of Europe (COE) and of the United Nations (UN), and has human rights obligations at the regional and universal levels.
Regional: European System
As a Member of the COE, Bosnia and Herzegovina has ratified the European Convention on Human Rights and is subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. Bosnia and Herzegovina has also ratified the Revised European Social Charter, but has not authorized the European Committee of Social Rights to decide collective complaints against it. Its human rights policies and practices are also monitored by the COE Commissioner for Human Rights, who identifies gaps in human rights protection, conducts country visits, engages in dialogue with States, and prepares thematic reports and advice.
Individuals and groups have submitted complaints of human rights violations committed by Bosnia and Herzegovina to the European Court of Human Rights. For example, the Court considered a complaint alleging inhuman or degrading treatment and violations of the right to an effective remedy in the case of four individuals who were convicted of war crimes against Bosniac civilians during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. See ECtHR, Rodic and Others v. Bosnia and Herzegovina, no. 22893/05, ECHR 2008, Judgment of 1 December 2008. Additionally, the Court may grant interim measures to protect people in urgent situations of risk in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
As a State party to the Revised European Social Charter, Bosnia and Herzegovina must submit yearly reports to the European Committee of Social Rights on its implementation of the Charter’s provisions.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is party to the following regional human rights treaties:
- European Convention on Human Rights and several of its protocols
- Revised European Social Charter
- COE Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence
- COE Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings
- European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
United Nations System
As a UN Member State, Bosnia and Herzegovina is subject to the oversight of various UN human rights bodies, including the Human Rights Council and its Universal Periodic Review and thematic special procedures. As a party to specific universal human rights treaties, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s policies and practices are monitored by UN treaty bodies. It has accepted the complaints procedure of six treaty bodies.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has ratified the following UN human rights treaties:
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
- Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)
- Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED)
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
- Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
- Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)
- International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (CMW)
Bosnia and Herzegovina has also ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aimed at abolishing the death penalty, and optional protocols to the CRC addressing children in armed conflict and the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography. Bosnia and Herzegovina has a duty to submit State reports to each UN treaty body associated with each UN human rights treaty Bosnia and Herzegovina has ratified. These reports must be submitted on a periodic basis, and describe the steps Bosnia and Herzegovina has taken to implement the treaty provisions.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has also ratified optional protocols and made appropriate declarations allowing individuals to submit complaints against the State alleging violations of the ICCPR, ICESCR, CEDAW, CAT, CRPD, and CED. Additionally, certain UN treaties contain inquiry procedures, which allow the UN treaty body to consider allegations of grave or systematic human rights violations. Bosnia and Herzegovina has accepted the inquiry procedures of the CAT, CED, CEDAW, and CRPD.
On May 7, 2010, Bosnia and Herzegovina extended a standing invitation to UN special procedures, which means that any such mandate holders are welcome to conduct visits in Bosnia and Herzegovina. For example, the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances went on a mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina in June 2010 and published a report in September 2010.
For more information on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s engagement with UN human rights bodies, visit http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/BAIndex.aspx.
Last updated: January 2020