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SARAJEVO, 26 June 2010— 26 June 2010 marks 23 years since United Nations’ Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment came into effect. Almost all member states of the United Nations have signed and ratified the Convention and in accordance with the Convention agreed to undertake preventive measures, prosecute perpetrators and provide adequate compensation for torture victims.

Today, we draw attention to the needs of persons victims of sexual violence during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe estimates that 20,000 women were subjected to rape and other forms of sexual violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina during that period.

Despite the fact that the war in BiH finished more than 14 years ago many survivors of those crimes suffer post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological and physical problems.

While, there is still no state level strategic framework for protection of the rights of the women victims of war sexual violence positive developments have been noted in this area in the recent past.

“We must ensure that victims of torture and violence receive proper treatment, health and social care, and that every violator is prosecuted for his/her actions in accordance with BiH Criminal Code”, stated Dr. Milorad Živkovic, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Group for Population and Development in BiH.

United Nations Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law (UN Basic Principles), all victims of war crimes, including survivors of rape and other forms of sexual violence have a right to a remedy and reparation.

“Respect for the survivors' right to reparation for the crimes committed against them is not only a requirement in international law, but is also important in assisting the victims to deal with the past and to be able to move on with their lives..”, added Mr. Faris Hadrovic, UNFPA BiH Assistant Representative.

UNFPA in Bosnia and Herzegovina in close cooperation with the PGPD shall provide technical assistance to the BiH Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees for the development of a strategy that will address victims of war, and in particular women victims of sexual violence during war.

The strategy should include ensuring restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition to the victims, as well as provisions for accessing psychological assistance and other support.