Response stories

Bridging borders: battling stigma in Bosnia and Herzegovina

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, a married couple faces a complex legal battle with profound implications. Bekir (name changed) and Aurore (name changed), originally from Bosnia and Rwanda respectively, have encountered unexpected challenges in their quest to build a life together in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This story unfolds against the backdrop of immigration laws, health problems, and the pursuit of justice.

Their journey began with a serendipitous meeting in Rwanda, where Bekir was engaged in a construction project. Following their marriage in Rwanda, the couple encountered bureaucratic hurdles as they sought to establish a life together in Bosnia. Despite obtaining visas, Aurore’s HIV-positive status became a stumbling block in her application for permanent residency, with authorities citing concerns about public health.

Undeterred, the couple sought legal assistance to navigate the asylum process, recognizing it as a lifeline for their future together. With the support of a knowledgeable immigration lawyer, they are now advocating for refugee status based on principles of family reunification and the best interests of their child. Their case underscores the humanitarian imperative of preserving family unity and upholding international human rights standards, as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. By leveraging international human rights principles, they aim to secure refugee status and a pathway to a secure future in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Moreover, Aurore’s HIV status not only adds a layer of complexity to their case but also highlights pervasive discrimination and stigma. Beyond legal battles, the couple is fighting for access to adequate healthcare, submitting requests to relevant authorities to ensure Aurore’s right to tertiary medical care following international standards.

Their journey epitomizes resilience in the face of adversity and the transformative power of legal advocacy in safeguarding fundamental human rights. Through perseverance and strategic legal maneuvers, Bekir and Aurore remain steadfast in their pursuit of asserting rights and a brighter future in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Also read:

Finding support: Vardan’s story from Armenia

“I have my right to work”: the resilience of a person living with HIV working in a hospital in North Macedonia