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2012 | OSCE Report: The right to social protection in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Concern on adequacy and equality

Bosnia and Herzegovina have ratified multiple international and European human rights treaties and thereby recognise social rights and the state’s obligations to ensure that all persons can enjoy social assistance without discrimination. Nonetheless, there remain serious gaps between those standards and the existing legislation and practice. This report discusses the social policy system and highlights the main concerns.

The current system is based on a dichotomy between war veterans and non-war related groups, which creates two parallel systems of benefits that are awarded on the basis of status. According to the authors of the report this practice is discriminatory and not in line with human right standards. Furthermore, the authorities maintain a contrasting stance and policy towards the two groups and do not use existing resources to their maximum capacity or prioritise those most in need. There is a need to redistribute the available funds. The report points out that according to the World Bank the bigger share of social benefits reach the richer segment of the population. The lack of financial sustainability of the system creates a burden on the budgets without achieving protection for the most vulnerable. This issue was also identified by International Monetary Fund, the Peace Implementation Council and the EC.

Based on the aforementioned concerns the report makes 5 recommendations to the governments and urges the authorities to undertake a number of steps immediately to resolve the concerns.