Association Vesta reminds of the need for resolution of long-standing problem of discrimination against newly delivered mothers

Disharmonised access to their rights and allowances has long been a source of discrimination and violation of basic human rights of the newly delivered mothers in BiH. In Bosnia and Herzegovina there is no law that would indiscriminately regulate this issue, given that social protection of family and children falls under respective jurisdiction of the entities and the Brcko District. According to the current legislative framework, we have 12 different approaches to regulation of the rights of the newly delivered mothers in BiH. Situation is especially complex in the Federation of BiH where the jurisdiction is shared by the entity and the cantons in such a way that the entity is responsible for adoption of the legislative framework, while the cantons are responsible for implementation of this legislation and payments of the indemnities to new mothers. The problem lays in the fact that the cantonal laws are not harmonised, some cantons have not adopted relevant laws, while in some, this issue of indemnities for new mothers is regulated by temporary decisions.

It is evident that differently regulated protection of motherhood in BiH has been a longstanding source of discrimination against new mothers and represents a harsh violation of their human rights which is, according to international standards, responsibility of the state. Taking into consideration that BiH records a continued decline in the birth-rate, especially in those parts of the country where the issue of protection of new mothers is not adequately addressed, the need for the state authorities to focus their attention towards problem is clear. If due attention is not paid to this problem, BiH will face a significant and long-term consequences for the health of the mothers, children and the family in general.

On the occasion of March the 8th, the International Day of strife for the rights of women, we are reminding the relevant BiH institutions of the need for urgent normative regulation of indemnities based on maternity leave and ensuring equal treatment of all women citizens of BiH, regardless of their place of residence.

Association Vesta Tuzla and Association Udruzene zene Banja Luka, with support of the KRIK network are, over the past two years, implementing activities that contribute to introduction of the gender component into the budgeting processes on all levels. On the basis of the Analysis of the rights of the newly delivered mothers in BiH and the Analytical basis for improvement of the situation of the new mothers in BiH, Association Vesta and Udruzene zene Banja Luka call upon the relevant institutions to improve the existing legislation and ensure better position of the newly delivered mothers in BiH through:

- Introducing gender-sensitive budgeting into the process of planning and creation of budgets on all levels of government in BiH.

- Creation of the state politics with a solid framework for protection of motherhood, family and children, in which this area will be adequately regulated and harmonised.

- Accelerated activities in the Federation of BiH towards adoption of the Law on protection of the families with children, in view of accessible and harmonised rights to maternity indemnities in the whole Federation of BiH.

- Initiation of activities on formation of the separate fund for child protection at the level of the Federation of BiH, in view of securing funds for regular payments of indemnities for protection of the families with children.

- Until this new legislative framework for protection of the families with children in the FBiH, secure mechanisms for improvement of the position of the newly delivered mothers in the cantons where the rights to maternity indemnities have not been regulated or realised.

- Acquired rights of the newly delivered mothers in the Republika Srpska should not be undermined by the changes of the legislation recommending a decrease in the scope of the rights and transfer of a larger part of obligations onto the employers.

- Ensuring that the budget in the Republika Srpska secures funds for payments of the brut amount of maternity indemnities and sufficient funds for payments of the said indemnities and benefits.

- Harmonise the level of the maternity allowance with the costs of living.