Sarajevo Open Centre: We are ready to help the FBiH government respond to the demands of same-sex couples

Sarajevo Open Centre (SOC) greets the efforts of the Government of FBiH, especially those of Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs, to provide legal protection and recognition of same-sex couples and their families in FBiH. We consider today’s conclusion of the Government of FBiH to form a working group to work on drafting of the law that would recognise and protect these unions, to be the success of our advocacy and awareness rising of the reality of the existence of same-sex couples and their families in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

Research conducted by SOC in 2017. has shown that as many as 80% same-sex couples in BiH want to conclude lifelong partnership,  but their long-standing stable emotional and economic unity and life are not being recognised by the state institution in any way.

Same-sex unions of BiH citizens need legal protection and recognition, despite the mutual love and respect they share with their partner, which is confirmed by the demands of same-sex couples to be registered in the master records. In BiH, married and unmarried partners have more than 1000 rights based only on their unions. All these rights are being denied to the same-sex couples which makes their mutual life difficult. Some of those rights are:

  • Right to make crucial health-related decisions for their partner in cases of life threating situations, and right to hospital visits.
  • Right to their partner’s health insurance in case of unemployment.
  • Right to paid leave from work in cases of sickness or death of the partner without the risk of losing a job.
  • Right to inherit all personal property that is legal property of married or unmarried partner or his/her pension.
  • Possibility of joint purchasing and acquiring property, and access to more favourable credit regimes offered by banks to resolve the housing issue of young married couples.
  • Right to mutually decide how their property will be shared in case of divorce, determination or death.

Sarajevo Open Centre offered its expertise to the Government of FBiH in their effort to provide protection for same-sex couples in BiH and their families and to implement the recommendations of Institution of Ombudsperson for Human Rights in BiH, Council of Europe and verdicts of European Court for Human Rights.

After today’s session of FBiH Government and the adoption of this conslusion, we addressed the Ministry of Justice of FBiH with the request to be included in the working group and we have sent them previously drafted documents which can be used in future work.

SOC has in 2016 produced models of laws on life unions of same-sex couples for both entities in BiH and advocated towards Government of FBiH the necessity of adopting such regulation, which was finally recognised at today’s session.

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