Thursday, 12 September 2013

United Nations Resolutions and Post-Conflict Bosnia-Herzegovina

United Nations Resolutions and Post-Conflict Bosnia-Herzegovina
The Implications of the United Nations Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security on Non-Governmental Womens Organisations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Challenges for the Future
This dissertation is submitted in part-fulfilment of the degree of MSc in Sociology of Peace Processes undertaken by me in the Department of Sociology at the University of Aberdeen, and it is solely written by Marta Kutt. (2013)
On behalf of Žene Ženama, Maria Theresa Maan - Besic, PR/Programme Manager participated and contributed in  the process of this dissertation.
The study set out to explore the implications of United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security on non-governmental organisations in Bosnia- Herzegovina as well as to find out whether the resolutions have a noticeable effect on the NGOs. Moreover, to identify the main challenges existing in BiH society that require attention both from the government and the NGOs. The general theoretical literature on the topic concentrates on civil society, women and their role in the conflict. Only one study has been previously conducted by Irvine (2013) specifically looking at the implementation of UNSCR in human security, transitional justice and decision-making processes in former Yugoslavia countries. However, this study concentrated on NGOs whether the implementation and existence of UNSCR actually has an observable effect on the society as a whole as well as on the activities of NGOs. Moreover, the challenges that stand in the way of the implementation of UNSCR and problems related to it were also explored.
This research found that the existence of UNSCR is important as it has played an important role  in  shaping  the  activities  of  NGOs  in  BiH.  Besides  using  the  resolutions  in  their activities the organisations have reminded the BiH government about their obligation to carry out changes which they have agreed to as a member state of the United Nations. The mistrust of politicians is high in BiH as they are seen to be making decisions for their personal benefit instead of for the society. This has resulted in very little cooperation between the state and the NGOs even though both are working towards the same goal.
The NGOs started to work on gender equality and increasing womens participation i2007 while the government has begun to pay more attention to these issues in the past few years.
 The NGOs attempt to raise awareness about the resolution 1325 by showing the people that it benefits them all. They do this through seminars, educating volunteers and also some government institutions such as the police. However, despite the hard work the NGOs face many limiting factors in their work. Since they receive funding from international donors they often have to apply for the funding with specific projects. This means the money can be used only for the certain project within specific time. The time constraint and expectation of fulfilling projects successfully is often not feasible for NGOs as the society needs structural changes which take longer time. Other challenges are political situation which does not seek changes, domestic violence that is still seen as a private matter and education in general which does not teach gender studies to students apart from one university in BiH.
 This  study  shows  that  while  the  governments  agree  to  carry  out  and  accept  the resolutions published by the UNSC, and they do not begin the implementation immediately. This results in the resolutions being more important for the civil society organisations. The importance can be noted when one discusses with the NGOs, who use the BiH membership of the UN as a significant tool for being responsible for the implementation of UNSCR. While there are five resolutions adopted by the UNSC, this research identified that mainly the first resolution 1325, which was adopted in 2000, is applied in the work carried out by NGOs. Some NGOs use the further resolutions as well, however 1325 was the main resolution mentioned in the interviews as the one being used by the NGOs in their work.
T ime constraint, location, lack of finance and small sampling size are the limitations of this research. More time and money to carry out a thorough research could have resulted in the researcher going to BiH to conduct the interviews and having possibilities to find NGOs to participate in the research. This study shows that the problem of implementing the resolutions in member states exists and more needs to be done to assure a more thorough implementation. Furthermore, currently the NGOs and the government in BiH are working on the same issues but with very little cooperation. A way to work together for the state and NGOs, who essentially are independent from the state, needs to be developed as this cooperation could result in more effective results for the society. This study demonstrates that both the state and the NGOs in BiH have many problems to resolve which could provide successful results if the two worked together. However, both working in their own sector will provide results too but the progress could take more time. BiH has a long way ahead to gender equality and equal opportunities and with the noteworthy work of the NGOs they are taking a step closer little by little.













Author: Marta Kutt