UN BiH supports violence victims and their quest for justice: You are not alone

NEWS 05.02.2021 15:51
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The United Nations affirms the right of survivors of rape, sexual violence, harassment, and discrimination to pursue justice, the UN's office in Bosnia and Herzegovina stated in support of all those who recently shared their personal testimonies of rape, sexual violence, harassment and discrimination through the 'Nisam trazila' (I did not ask for it) platform which gathered victims from the entire region.

The UN BiH called on relevant authorities to ensure that “those speaking up are protected and accorded the right to report perpetrators regardless of when these crimes occurred.”

“Over the past weeks, thousands of women and girls, and some men and boys, across the Western Balkans have shared personal testimonies of rape, sexual violence, harassment, and discrimination through the ‘Nisam trazila’ (‘I did not ask for it’) Facebook platform. These testimonies have shed light on the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence in homes, educational institutions, and workplaces,” said the message from the United Nation's Sarajevo office, stressing that this institution recognized “the incredible bravery required to speak publicly.”

“We call on the relevant authorities to ensure that those speaking up are protected and accorded the right to report perpetrators regardless of when these crimes occurred. Systemic protection should include support services to survivors, including education, counselling, access to safe houses, and legal aid,” it added.

The UN BiH also welcomed the steps towards the change of societal norms and narratives on gender relations, and encouraged the “full alignment of the legislation on rape and sexual harassment with the Istanbul Convention and the Gender Equality Law.”

Finally, the UN expressed support to all survivors and their quest for justice and redress

“We are inspired by the courage of those who speak out. We are joining you: “You are not alone”,” the UN said, emphasizing that this was “a unique moment” in BiH and opportunity to change the narrative around sexual violence, shift the stigma from the survivors to the perpetrators and secure a safer and more equal environment for future generations.

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The Facebook platform ‘Nisam trazila’ gathered over 40,000 followers including victims and those showing support and sympathy to those who survived sexual violence and other sorts of harassment in less than two weeks. The virtual movement emerged after Serbian actor Milena Radulovic accused renowned professor and director Miroslav Mika Aleksic of sexual harassment of her and other students in his acting school, which sparked a series of other testimonies from across the region that were shared on the platform.

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