EIYN’s member organization – youth group of Interreligious Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina “All Together” launched, in partnership with Religions for Peace Global Interfaith Youth Network, first initiative of youth “Restoring Dignity” campaign in Europe! The event took place on February 25, 2013, in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H).
100 people took part in all-day long event that included: training course for youth, promotion of Bosnian edition of “Restoring Dignity” toolkit, and panel discussion with speakers from largest religious institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The goal of the initiative and the whole campaign is to engage faith based organizations, religious leaders, communities, youth and individuals of faith for common action to end violence against women through different activities, such as:
Increasing awareness on violence against women and girls and the need to address it
Education for deeper understanding on the different forms of violence against women and share knowledge on the religious and spiritual teachings and principles to end it
Advocacy through joining voices with survivors, to advocate for prevention, legal accountability and protection for women and girls.
Prior to the main event, youth from “All Together” group spread the word about the campaign during seminars for youth from Chapters of the Interreligious Council from other cities in Bosnia. They also held consultations with high religious leaders, discussing with the clergy ideas on how to resolve problem of discrimination and violence against women, with the help of religious communities.
The main event, was organized by “All Together” group with cooperation of Center for education and research Nahla, in Nahla facilities in Sarajevo.
Training course was prepared and facilitated by certified trainers of “All Together” youth group. Participants were youth from different faith organizations, non government organizations and civil society groups. Some of the participants are involved in other important campaigns in B&H addressing problems of discrimination and violence against women. Training course was attended by 30 participants.
The main goals on this course were to gather youth and gave them opportunity to meet each other and to create strong youth network for possible future joint activities, as well as to come with some specific ideas and proposals for action. The participants discussed topics such as: appreciation of women in B&H, are religions misunderstood regarding women rights? how much violence against women is there in B&H, how much is the problem addressed ? Is there a relation between violence against women and religion? What are the wrong interpretation of religious teachings justifying different forms of violence against women? Discussions were followed by case studies.
At the beginning of panel discussion Bosnian edition of the toolkit “Restoring dignity: a manual for religious communities to eliminate violence against women,” was promoted and distributed. The toolkit was published by the Center for Education and Research “Nahla” together with group “All Together”. It will be available (in Bosnian) soon online. For the moment you can download the toolkit in English from here: http://restoringdignity.religionsforpeaceinternational.org/resources/toolkit/
Second part of the day was panel discussion entitled “Dignity is an inalienable gift of God”. Speakers – representatives of the largest churches and religious communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, included: msgr. Mato Zovkić, Roman-catholic Church, dr. Dževad Hodžić, Islamic Community and father Boško Tošović, Serbian Orthodox Church. Their common message is that all religions cherish the inherent dignity of every human being and that violence cannot in any way be justified by religion. One of the conclusion of the discussion was that according to all religious traditions, wee, people, we have inalienable human dignity, the same for women as for men. Violence against those who are weaker physically or economically or less educated is an attack on human dignity, and is against any true religion.
60 people attended the panel discussion and media representatives were present. At the end of the panel discussion, the “Restoring Dignity” toolkit was presented.
We hope this wonderful event will be an inspiration for our all network of different youth faith organizations in Europe (EIYN) to support “Restoring Dignity” campaign (http://restoringdignity.religionsforpeaceinternational.org/) and organize next projects, next events, in the framework of this interreligious campaign, in other countries in Europe.
Thank you for this inspiration, our friends from “All Together” in Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially Daniel Eror and Lejla Hasandedic, great event, thank you!