On 5 February the European Parliament held a plenary debate on the progress report on the Western Balkan countries. In her speech, Hungarian MEP Zita Gurmai urged the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina for enhancing the protection of victims of violence. According to Ms Gurmai, a strong political will and sufficient financial resources are indispensable for achieving the desired results.
Ms Gurmai expressed concerns about the lack of vision for the future of the country, as without this the Western Balkan state cannot operate efficiently.
‘Although there were considerable developments, much remains to be done on the field of gender equality. The European Commission provided financial support for civil organisations through its Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, however, we do not know how much part of this assistance was used to help the local associations of women helping directly victims of sexual violence,’ Ms Gurmai said.
According to the socialist MEP these crimes remain largely denied or unpunished while it has lasting and damaging effects both physically and psychologically. Therefore Ms Gurmai called for ensuring financial means to prosecute the perpetrators of such hateful crimes.
‘When it comes to women's rights, the issue of trafficking in human beings, especially for the purpose of sexual exploitation, remains a cause of great concern and I strongly hope that the newly adopted Action Plan will swiftly produce results,’ concluded Ms Gurmai.