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Inter-religious Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina makes a step further in ending stigma

British Embassy Sarajevo and UNFPA welcome the adoption of the Declaration which denounces the stigmatisation of sexual violence survivors in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Screenshot of the Declaration

The British Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) congratulate the Inter-religious Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina on its 20th anniversary of dedicated work and persistence in building and sharing their joint vision of tolerant, open and diverse society in every part of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On this important day, and on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, we are delighted to welcome the adoption of a landmark Declaration on Denouncing Stigmatisation of Survivors of Conflict-related Sexual Violence by Inter-religious Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This Declaration is a clear signal to everyone that religious communities, religious leaders and the clergy are clearly and unequivocally condemning social exclusion, marginalisation and outright discrimination society commits against survivors of conflict related sexual violence.

UN Population Fund and the British Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina stand with Inter-religious Council in their efforts to alleviate stigmatisation of survivors and will continue working on this issue in the future.

Foreign Secretary’s video message on the adoption of a landmark Declaration on Denouncing Stigmatisation of Survivors of Conflict-related Sexual Violence by Inter-religious Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina

On this occasion, the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

Let me be the first to congratulate the Inter-Religious Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the 20th anniversary of their work to build a peaceful and tolerant society.

When I visited Sarajevo in April, I was struck by the ancient glory of your country’s religious heritage, seeing for myself how churches, mosques and synagogues have existed side-by-side for centuries, creating a unique tapestry that should be treasured and celebrated.

Today you are addressing one of the most painful legacies of the terrible conflict of the 1990s by sending a clear message that no shame or guilt should attach to the innocent victims of sexual violence.

Only the perpetrators of these wicked crimes should feel the sting of opprobrium and stigma.

Those who suffered at their hands must never be inhibited from asking for help or providing the evidence that will allow justice to be done.

And faith leaders can do a great deal to assist.

To this end, the British Government is working with our friends in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the Inter-Religious Council, and I wish you every success.

Published 29 June 2017