Bosnia and Herzegovina has benefited from the co-operation programmes of the Council of Europe since 2003. The implementation of the first Action Plan (2015-2017) provided a more strategic approach to the overall co-operation.

Encouraging results achieved through the first cycle of co-operation, paved the way for the adoption of a new Action Plan by the Committee of Ministers in June 2018, covering the period 2018-2021. The main purpose is to support the authorities in advancing the strategic reforms in protecting and promoting human rights and dignity; ensuring justice; strengthening the rule of law; strengthening democratic governance; fostering innovation and promoting participation and diversity. The Action Plan is tailored according to the findings of the most recent Council of Europe monitoring reports, while equally reflecting the country’s European integration agenda and the reform priorities enshrined in national strategic documents.

The support provided has resulted in a number of positive achievements, particularly in the area of penitentiary reforms, the fight against violence against women and domestic violence, the strengthening of the Ombudsman Institution, quality and inclusive education, the protection of national minorities and inter-ethnic dialogue and reconciliation. Further support also targets improving human rights reporting and the role of media, enhancing the reintegration of violent and extremist prisoners, improving legal certainty, strengthening local democracy, particularly on building democratic participation in the City of Mostar, and to improve the inclusiveness of the electoral processes.

The co-operation with Bosnia and Herzegovina is further reinforced through the European Union/Council of Europe Joint Programme Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey, to assist the authorities in meeting their reform agendas and in complying with the European standards. Actions undertaken at national level contributes to enhancing the penitentiary reforms, promoting quality and inclusive education, improving the application of European standards in the field of freedom of expression and freedom of the media, countering discrimination and hate speech, preventing trafficking in human beings. Bosnia and Herzegovina also takes part in regional actions under the Horizontal Facility to evaluate the efficiency of the justice reform through the flagship initiative based on CEPEJ methodology “Dashboard - Western Balkans”, provide human rights education for legal professionals (HELP), address radicalisation in prisons, ensure legal certainty, fight against economic crime, foster parliamentary co-operation to achieve legislative improvements and reinforce freedom of expression and the media.

The country also participates in other regional programmes such as the European Union/Council of Europe Joint Project on “Project on targeting crime proceeds on the Internet in South Eastern Europe and Turkey – iPROCEEDS 2” to strengthen the capacity of the authorities to search, seize and confiscate cybercrime proceeds, prevent money laundering on the Internet and secure internet evidence. Support is also provided to strengthen the political will and sustained policy engagement of local authorities and empower local Roma communities through the European Union/Council of Europe regional Joint Programme “Promoting good governance and Roma empowerment at local level – ROMACTED”.