Posted 8th May 2012

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The European Council of Religious Leaders at their annual meeting in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sarajevo, 8-10 May 2012, committed to work to end violence against women. The Restoring Dignity statement proposed by Religions for Peace European Women of Faith Network was accepted unanimously. ECRL endorsed the statement on Restoring Dignity: A Commitment to End Violence against Women underlining that violence against women is wrong and that religions must support the dignity and full human rights of women, particularly in helping to stop violence against and the discrimination of women.
The religious leaders committed themselves to work to engage religious communities to prevent acts of violence against women and to mobilise the compassion of religious communities to help, care for and heal survivors of violence. They further committed themselves to engage men, boys and women in the prevention of violence against women, and advocate for changes in public policy and opinion that contribute to violence against women.
Linked to the Restoring Dignity Initiative is the development of and promotion of the Dignity of Women-Scriptural Reflections Exhibition by RfP EWFN. Religions for Peace European Women of Faith Network launched the Restoring Dignity Initiative and “The Dignity of Women – Scriptural Reflections” Exhibition on 10 May 2012 in Sarajevo. The exhibition was translated into Bosnian.
More than 70 participants from faith based and civil organisations attended the launch. Participants included the new moderator Revd Dr Thomas Wipf and members of the European Council of Religious Leaders, Mato Zovkic, Igor Kozemjakin, Emir Kovacevic, Bozana Ivelic-Katava from the Inter religious Council of Bosnia-Herzegovina, members of the European Women of Faith Network and the European Inter Faith Youth Network, members of Religions for Peace-Europe. Representatives from women’s organisations included Sehija Dedovic from Nahla a non-governmental women’s organisation in Sarajevo, Sister Zeljka Dramac from the Roman Catholic community and Ivana Kozina from Caritas Herzegovina. Representatives from youth organisations included Daniel Eror, Alan Vidovic Lejla Hasasdedir from the Inter-religious youth group in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sedad Dedic from the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations (FEMYSO) and Ryan Mercieca from JECI-MIEC the European Coordination is an umbrella organization for national organizations of catholic youth and students in Europe.
As a direct result of the Restoring Dignity Initiative launch by RfP EWFN in Sarajevo, youth organizations in Bosnia-Herzegovina will be taking forward an awareness project amongst young people to help end violence against women. Women’s organizations in Bosnia have indicated that they would like to have the Restoring Dignity Toolkit translated into Bosnian in order to use it locally and nationally and would like to form a Bosnian Women of Faith Network.

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