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Stop Revenge in the Balkans PDF Print E-mail

Since our beginning in 1991, we have opposed war and every form of violence. We advocate respect for human rights and especially women's rights. We are in solidarity with all of those who opposed the Serbian regime which has neglected its responsibility to solve the Kosova issue for the past 10 years. We supported all peace actions and nonviolent actions for the demilitarization of Kosova. We denounced media campaigns that the used the language of hatred and revenge. We were in solidarity with everyone who advocated nonviolence in Kosova, convinced that only dialogue and little steps can lead to a just solution.

As a small pacifist group, we made an effort to make our protests accessible to a wider circle of citizens. We expressed our protest publicly, on the streets of Belgrade as well as at numerous meetings of the Women's Peace Network held in Yugoslavia and other countries.

In the summer of 1998, we asked the international community, the European Union and responsible citizens to immediately stop the war in Kosova and demanded the disarming of all military groups involved in the conflict. We were then threatened in Serbia as traitors to be killed.

In April 1999, we appealed to the governments of NATO members. In that appeal, we expressed our disagreement with the NATO military intervention in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. With regret, we noted that the US government and the Western European governments ignored the peace movements in their countries and in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Among other things, we demanded that NATO stop bombing, that peace negotiations be re­newed and that a peace conference on the Balkans be held.

Bombing has stopped, but the war hasn't. In its resolutions about Kosova in June 1999, the OSCE guaranteed the safe return of refugees and temporarily displaced persons to their homes, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of FRY, and the end of violence and repression in Kosova. International forces placed in Kosova (KFOR) were supposed to stop animosities; ensure the withdrawal of the republic and federal army forces, police and paramilitary forces from Kosova; demilitarize the Kosova Liberation Army (KLA); establish public order and security; ensure international civil presence in Kosova in the form of an interim administration; protect autonomy and local self-government Kosova.
Of all of these promises, only the withdrawal of the Yugoslav army, police and paramilitary forces has been completed. Immediately after their withdrawal, the refugees, Kosova Albanians, started their mass, unorganized return to towns and villages in Kosova. A large number of the people from impoverished Albania, armed members of the KLA, members of the mafia, and criminals joined this return migration. The robberies, arsons, murders, kidnappings, and systemic harassment of the Serbian population that followed provoked a new humanitarian catastrophe. This is justified as the revenge for similar atrocities committed against the Kosova Albanian population by Serbian military groups. We have never justified those crimes.

Today, more than 3 months after the halt of NATO military intervention in FRY the situation is getting worse for Serbs and all non-Albanians in Kosova. As far as we know, since the end of the bombing and the arrival of the international military forces, over 300 people have lost their lives and 400 more are considered missing. They are mostly Serbs, Roma and other non-Albanians.

Over 40,000 houses were burned and hundreds of flats were occupied. The number of refugees exceeds 200,000. According to international standards, they are considered temporarily displaced, which means they are not entitled to any humanitarian aid. The Serbian government is placing them in cities in south Serbia. Most of the displaced people are not allowed to go further north. Their destiny, in many respects, resembles that of the refugees from Krajina, Croatia who came to Serbia in 1995 and whose status has not yet been resolved.

Temporarily displaced people from Kosova cannot return to their home, but they have no place to go in Serbia. Their existence is being covered up and not spoken about by the regime. They are the proof of the defeat of ‘warrior politics.’ The displaced people are deprived of the basic human rights and exposed to harassment, punishments and all sorts of humiliations. The children are prohibited from attending local schools. Some of them are being arrested for disturbing public order and peace and for not reporting their change of address quickly enough.

We will protest against the violence and ethnic cleansing and for solidarity with those who have been expelled and are temporarily displaced in Republic Square between 3:30 PM and 4:30 PM on September 15.

Let's raise our voice:

Against the violence!

Against the breaking of the agreement

Against deceptions that cover up violence and crime on all sides of the conflict!

Belgrade, September 13, 1999


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