Following yesterday’s BIRN BiH text, the Board of Directors of the Vogošća Cultural and Sports Center amended the Rulebook on the use of swimming pools at an emergency session and allowed swimming in burkini. BIRN BiH wrote about the violation of the rights of girls who, due to the ban, were not able to attend compulsory swimming lessons or join a swimming school.
The president of the Adapto swimming club told BIRN that she was addressing the director of the Sports Center. According to her, he explained that Article 45 of the Rulebook prescribes the manner of dressing in the pool as a legal provision of swimming pools managed by public institutions. This article states, among other things, that a swimmer may not bathe in an inappropriate bathing suit.
OBVIOUS VIOLATION OF RIGHTS
At the request of the Balkan Research Network, Lawyer Haris Seferović sees this ban as a clear violation of the right to education, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and that this Rulebook bans girls attending swimming school, which could ultimately lead to their rejection from the society and stigmatization.
- If we take into account that such clothing is “mostly” used by minor children of the Muslim religion, it is an obvious discrimination because it is contrary to the principles of equality, primarily in education – explains Seferović.
As it was announced from the Public Institution KSC Vogošća, the Board of Directors immediately after learning about the misunderstanding, at an emergency extraordinary session held at the suggestion of the management of the institution, passed an amendment to the Rules of Procedure and the use of the pool, which defines sportswear for women and girls, and the misunderstanding was resolved to the mutual satisfaction.
GUARANTEE OF RIGHTS
Following the initiative of the citizens and the support of the media, this provision in the Rulebook was amended on the same day. The right to freedom of religion and belief is guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights, and is protected by the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Law on Freedom of Religion and Legal Position of Churches and Religious Communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the European Convention is not just one in a series of international treaties that give rise to certain obligations for signatory states, but one of the most important constitutional principles.
Both in BiH and in Europe, there are numerous examples of institutions, where conditions have adapted to the needs of women with headscarves who follow a certain code of dress from religious beliefs and thus ensure the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion and belief, thus ensuring equality.
The PRVI initiative welcomes this decision and supports all efforts to ensure a higher level of respect for the right to freedom of religion or belief. We are pleased to witness positive examples of civic activism that, with the support of the media and the general public, can result in great achievements in the field of human rights protection in BiH.
The PRVI initiative (against racial and religious intolerance) was founded by the Nahla Center for Education and Research in 2017, and consists of human rights activists with a focus on freedom of religion and belief. The initiative addresses a systemic approach to addressing the issue of threats to the right to freedom of religion or belief, discrimination based on religion or belief, and fighting against fear, hatred and prejudice against religious groups.