Bosnia and Herzegovina to open first LGBTI safe house with the help of the EU

NEWS 26.04.202412:36 0 komentara

The European Union and the Council of Europe have awarded a grant to the Sarajevo-based "Wings of Hope" Foundation to open the first safe house/shelter for LGBTI people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This safe house will be open to LGBTI victims of domestic violence from all parts of the country who need rapid shelter outside their household and professional and sensitised psychosocial support in a safe environment.

Bojana Urumova, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Sarajevo stated: “With this shelter, LGBTI people in Bosnia and Herzegovina no longer have to choose between homelessness and remaining in a household where they are rejected or abused. We trust that the relevant institutions will support this important initiative.”

Gianluca Vannini, Head of Operations Section for Social Development, Civil Society and Cross Border Cooperation (EU Delegation) stated that respect for human rights, dignity, principles of non-discrimination and privacy are fundamental values of the European Union. “While the establishment of a safe house marks significant progress in safeguarding the rights of the LGBTI community, our collective efforts must extend to ensure their equal rights across all spheres of public and private life. Together, we must combat prejudice and champion equality for all citizens, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity”, said Vannini.

Recalling that the Wings of Hope Foundation started its specialised psycho-social work with the LGBTI community almost ten years ago, its Executive Director Sinisa Sajevic stated: “We see a constant increase in LGBTIQ facing domestic violence and have nowhere to go. The existence of the shelter offers psychological support, education, suicide prevention and empowerment, which is crucial for the well-being and safety of the LGBTIQ community in BiH, which currently does not have a similar space. By opening the shelter, we are ensuring a new element of safety in our society for all LGBTIQ people who need it.”

Reacting to the news on the opening of the LGBTI shelter, one of the Wings of Hope beneficiaries and earlier victim of domestic violence, E.A, 21 years old, commented: “When my father kicked me out of the apartment and told me to fend for myself after he found out I was gay, I felt terrible. Without any support. Thanks to the support of several friends, I overcame that period and lived with them. If there had been a safe house for LGBTIQ people then, I would have felt much more protected. I would know that there is someone who cares about me and who can help me get back on my feet. Somehow the existence of such a house seems to me to be crucial for this country where parents still refuse to accept their children as LGBTIQ individuals.”

The opening of the first LGBTI shelter in Bosnia and Herzegovina was supported by the action “Towards an equal, inclusive and tolerant Bosnia and Herzegovina”, which is implemented within the framework of the joint programme of the European Union and the Council of Europe “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Türkiye”.

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