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Bosnia and Herzegovina: Situation of single pregnant women; treatment by families, society, and authorities; differences, if any, between rural and urban areas (January 2003 - November 2005)

Publisher Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
Publication Date 29 November 2005
Citation / Document Symbol BIH100778.E
Reference 2
Cite as Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Situation of single pregnant women; treatment by families, society, and authorities; differences, if any, between rural and urban areas (January 2003 - November 2005), 29 November 2005, BIH100778.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/45f147e712.html [accessed 17 April 2014]
Comments Corrected version March 2007
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Information on the situation of single pregnant women in Bosnia and Herzegovina was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

In 24 November 2005 correspondence with the Research Directorate, a representative of the Bosnian Institute, a London-based international organization dedicated to sharing information and providing education on Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnian Institute n.d.), mentioned that single women who are pregnant do not usually have any legal difficulties in Bosnia, nor do the authorities generally mistreat them (ibid. 24 Nov. 2005). Socially, however, these women can face significant problems, particularly in rural parts of the country (ibid. 24 Nov. 2005). Further or corroborating information on the situation of single pregnant women in Bosnia and Herzegovina could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within time constraints.

In its June 2002 Family Law Report: Bosnia and Herzegovina, the South Eastern European Women's Legal Initiative (SEELINE) noted that some parents agree to marry off their minor children (with parental support and court permission, adolescents between 16 and 18 years of age can be legally married) to "'hide their shame' if their daughter is pregnant" (June 2002, Sec. 3).

Bosnian laws stipulate that a working woman must be protected during her pregnancy and is not allowed to work at a job that could negatively affect her health or her pregnancy (UN 3 Feb. 2005, Art. 122; ibid. 18 Apr. 2005, Art. 34). Bosnian legislation stipulates that:

During pregnancy and feeding of a child, women can be reassigned to another job if this would be in the interest of their health condition as determined by an authorized physician. If an employer is not able to secure reassignment, women have the right to a leave with compensation, pursuant to their collective contract and labour rules. Temporary reassignment cannot mean a decrease of salary as a consequence, and an employer can reassign women only with their prior written consent (ibid., Art. 124).

In its report on Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) noted that the labour laws also prohibit pregnant women from working overtime or night shifts (ibid. 18 Apr. 2005, Art. 34).

However, Country Reports 2004 indicated that in 2004, Bosnian women sometimes faced "unwarranted dismissal" from their jobs due to their pregnancy (28 Feb. 2005, Sec. 5), a finding which could not be corroborated within time constraints.

In a report submitted to the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina cited the Law on Social Care which stipulates that a youth foster home could arrange housing for "single unemployed pregnant women and mothers with children [under one] year of age" (14 Oct. 2004, Art. 146).

The report submitted to the CRC also mentioned that "[c]hildren born out of wedlock have the same rights as children born in wedlock if paternity is known or has been established. This applies to the right to support as well" (Bosnia and Herzegovina 14 Oct. 2004, Art. 141). Information explaining the difference between the rights of children born out of wedlock to known and unknown fathers could not be found within time constraints.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Bosnia and Herzegovina. 14 October 2004. United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. "Bosnia and Herzegovina." Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention. (CRC/C/11/Add.28) [Accessed 24 Nov. 2005]

The Bosnian Institute. 24 November 2005. Correspondence sent from a representative.
_____. N.d. "About the Institute." [Accessed 24 Nov. 2005]

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2004. 28 February 2005. "Bosnia and Herzegovina." United States Department of State. [Accessed 24 Nov. 2005]

South Eastern European Women's Legal Initiative (SEELINE). June 2002. Sevima Sali-Terzic. Family Law Report: Bosnia and Herzegovina. [Accessed 24 Nov. 2005]

United Nations (UN). 18 April 2005. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women – Combied Initial, Second and Third Periodic Reports of States Parties: Bosnia and Herzegovina. [Accessed 29 Nov. 2005]
_____. 3 February 2005. Economic and Social Council. "Bosnia and Herzegovina." Implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Initial Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Articles 16 and 17 of the Covenant. [Accessed 24 Nov. 2005]

Additional Sources Consulted

Two lawyers at the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Sarajevo, did not respond to requests for information within time constraints.

Internet Sites, including: Amnesty International (AI), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Dani [Sarajevo], The Economist [London], European Country of Origin Information Network (ECOI), Freedom House, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Human Rights Watch (HRW), International Crisis Group (ICG), International Helsinki Federation (IHF), ONASA News Agency [Sarajevo], Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), World News Connection (WNC).

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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