Every year, the first week of October is celebrated as the Children’s Week in Bosnia and Herzegovina. With this occasion, the network Stronger Voice for Children chose to put children in the hot spot and let them advocate for themselves during two major events focusing on child protection.
Together with the Institution of Ombudsman for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Save The Children, Stronger Voice for Children organised a conference followed by a press conference with a big turnout from the national media, 60 representatives of various institutions of government, ministries, international and local organizations. The topic of the actions was the mechanisms of child protection with a special attention to the international obligations that BiH have compared with the national legislation and mechanisms in place. One of the issues presented by the network representative was the need for opening a 24h helpline for children – the unique European Child Helpline 116 000. Representatives of Children’s Parliament talked about the need for signing and ratifying the third Optional Protocol to the UNCRC, a process that started in BiH 3 years ago with no results up to date. In the session of the same day, BiH Council of Ministries gave their consent to start the process of signing the optional protocol.
The Stronger Voice for Children members also organised, together with Council for Children of BiH and Save the Children, a round-table focused on the budgets available for children in the country and the promotion of program budgeting based on children needs. The round table was opened by the Minister for Human Rights and Refugees Ms. Semiha Borovac and the audience was addressed by Mr. Martin Raguz on behalf of the Commission on Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH. A representative of Children’s Parliament presented the results of the advocacy initiatives for children’s rights in the local community. The most important result is the recent adoption of the Local Action Plan for Children in Zenica and Banjaluka. As a conclusion, representatives from the Ministry of Finance recommended that 2017 budgeting will harmonise with the actual needs of children of BiH.