UK Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, Baroness Joyce Anelay, spoke yesterday in Zenica to representatives of the organisations across the country providing vital support to wartime sexual violence survivors about the recent achievements and challenges of their work. Baroness Anelay praised the work of these NGOs in Bosnia and Herzegovina to provide a range of support in accessing justice, receiving legal advice, psychosocial and livelihood support, and challenging the stigma associated with being a victim of these crimes.
Baroness Anelay said:
I am delighted to be here in Bosnia and Herzegovina today and meet these extraordinary people who dedicated their lives to raising awareness about the issue of sexual violence and providing unreserved support to survivors of such horrible crimes.
Only thanks to them, survivors of sexual violence have been recognised as civil war victims and now receive some compensation. Thanks to them, several landmark rulings to award compensation to the victims of wartime rape as the first ever criminal compensation cases have been made recently.
A lot has been done in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the past two decades, but still there is plenty of work ahead of us all. I am glad that the UK Government is able to help these organisations and I am particularly pleased to announce today that we will provide further funding of 30,000 GBP to NGO TRIAL, which will enable them to continue providing support to survivors who seek justice for the crimes they have suffered.
She emphasised that lessons learnt in Bosnia and Herzegovina should be replicated in other countries, but also stressed that besides the excellent work of NGOs, the government has the ultimate responsibility to implement different measures to address status of survivors.
Baroness Anelay visited the recently opened Resource Centre Maya in Zenica which was built with the British support and provides 24 hours support to survivor of sexual violence and their families, and has spoken to some of the beneficiaries.
This visit signifies the high level of UK Government support to the efforts of post conflict societies, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, in ending the appalling scourge of sexual violence in conflict. Since the launch of the preventing sexual violence initiative in 2012, the UK Government has been providing financial and technical support to Bosnia and Herzegovina through several projects with the aim of strengthening investigations and increasing prosecutions for sexual violence cases, improving witness support and protection services, and setting up the institutional networks for providing support to survivors in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska.