October 9, 1991—October 9, 2006
A Brief Review of Activities
Since October 9, 1991, we have organized nearly 1,000 protests, performances, marches, and educational programs in the street—primarily in Belgrade, but also in 15 cities throughout Serbia, three cities in Montenegro, and three cities in Bosnia-Herzegovina. These activities were directed against war, war crimes, nationalism and militarism and for peace, nonviolence, women’s human rights, demilitarization, disarmament, just globalization, antifascism and reproductive rights.
Peace Networks, Campaigns and Coalitions
The International Network of Women in Black: Since July 1992, we have held ten international assemblies of the Network in Serbia (one was in Montenegro) in which 1,780 women from all countries of the former Yugoslavia; 13 European countries; as well as ten countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America; the USA and Canada. Today, there are approximately 250 groups from all continents in the International Network of Women in Black.
Membership in international networks: WRI (War Resisters International), WLUML (Women Living Under Muslim Laws), WGNRR (Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights), IFOR/PBI (International Fellowship of Reconciliation/Peace Brigades International), NPF (Nonviolent Peace Force).
The Women in Black Network—Serbia: From the beginning we worked as an informal network in some cities in Serbia. In 1998, a network with an activist and decentralized structure was created. It is made up of individuals and activists from nearly 20 cities in Serbian. It has constant joint activities, coordinated work and three to four meetings annually.
Network for Conscientious Objection in Serbia: It began in 1991 as a support for deserters and conscientious objectors. Since 1994, it has held six assemblies and published ten issues of the magazine Prigovor (Objection), which is devoted to conscientious objection and antimilitarism. During 2001, it organized an action to collect signatures for the right to conscientious objection in 30 cities in Serbia. Not until 2003 was this right accepted by the civil service; since then, the Network has organized educational programs about militarism and its alternatives, demilitarization, deconstructing patriarchy, and other topics.
In 2005 and 2006, together with other networks and nongovernmental organizations, Women in Black started:
G8: is a group of NGOs from Belgrade who advocate for taking responsibility for war and war crimes, the punishment of crimes and the application of transitional justice.
The Coalition for a Secular State: was founded together with four other NGOs from Belgrade and the support of dozens of NGOs from throughout Serbia. The Coalition was organized against The Law on Churches and Religious Communities and the clericalization of society and for protecting the secular character of the state (the separation of church and state).
The Women’s Peace Coalition: is composed of The Kosova Women’s Network and the Women in Black Network—Serbia. It advocates for the participation of women in peace processes and negotiations, for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, and for a just and lasting peace. The coalition is in constant contact and organizes joint activities.
The Women’s Lobby for Peace, Security, and Justice in Southeast Europe: is comprised of women activists from civil society and democratic political parties from the Balkan region. It advocates for the promotion of peace, security and stability in Southeast Europe.
The Feminist Coalition: Together with four other groups from Belgrade, we agree on activities, especially the creation of joint documents for session of CEDAW (The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women).
Campaigns: From the beginning, we have organized campaigns independently and with other groups. During 2005 and 2006, we initiated six campaigns and legislative initiatives: for the cancellation of compulsory military service, against the growth of anti-Semitism in Serbia, for the punishment of war crimes and cooperation with The Hague Tribunal, for the cancellation of The Law on Financial Support for Hague Defendants and Their Families, for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, for the adoption of the resolution ‘Women, Peace and Security,’ and against The Law on Churches and Religious Communities.
Educational cycles/thematic continuity: There have been cycles from one to seven years in length on women’s peace politics, feminism/antimilitarism; gender/nation/military/homeland, identities/stereotypes/prejudices, pacifism/nonviolence, women’s human rights, women’s and peace activism, power from a women’s perspective, confronting the past, gender/peace/security, fundamentalisms and interethnic solidarity. In the framework of these educational cycles (seminars and trainings, there have been over 500 workshops in which approximately 3,000 women participated.
International and regional conferences: In addition to the meetings of the International Women in Black Network, we have organized approximately 22 conferences in five cities in Serbia. The conferences addressed the following issues: peace, health, disarmament; militarism and alternatives; confronting the past—a feminist approach; globalization and alterglobalization; women’s and peace activism; retrograde tendencies and feminist responses and power and its alternatives.
Panel discussions and lectures: We have organized nearly 100 panel discussions in Belgrade and other cities in Serbia. Most were about war and war crimes, The Hague Tribunal, the responsibility of civil society to confront the past, feminism and antimilitarism, women’s and peace activism and conservative retrograde tendencies and their alternatives. We carried out this education activity in nearly 50 cities in Serbia and eight cities in Montenegro.
Support for the Victims of War and Repression
From 1993 to 1997, we worked systematically and intensively in five refugee camps in Serbia, conducting humanitarian activities, as well as six educational help and self-help projects.
We followed the trials of victims of repression from 1991 to October 2000 in Niš, Belgrade and Leskovac. We currently follow trials in the Special Court. (Most are for war crimes.) To that end, 74 activists of the Women in Black Network from 11 cities in Serbia followed 27 sessions of the trial of the Scorpions paramilitary (who were involved in the Srebrenica genocide) during 2006. Since October 2, 2006, we have followed the trial for the war crime in Suva Reka, Kosovo.
From 1993 to 2005, we published ten Women for Peace anthologies. The number of pages varied from 120 to 440. All anthologies are in Serbian and English, four are in Spanish, and two are in Italian.
From 1994 to 1995, we published four issues of the magazine Women against War in Serbian, English, Spanish and Italian.
Neda Božinović, ‘Women’s Issues in Serbia in the 19th and 20th Centuries,’ 1996 (and a reprint in 2003), 276 pages. (printed in cooperation with Feminist ’94).
Neda Božinović, ‘The Continuity of the Struggle for Peace and Women’s Rights,’ 2006, 52 pages.
‘Women in Black and Women’s Groups from Kosovo,’ 2006, 190 pages.
‘Women in Black,’ 2002, 89 pages.
Translated Literary Works
(Together with Feminist ’94)
Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas, 2001.
Audre Lourde, Sister/Outsider, 2002
Jane Berry, Rising up in Response, 2005, 178 pages.
- Nothing is the Same as Before September 11th, compilation, 2001, 60 pages;
- We Wish to Dance - We Wish to Play, translation, 2002, 98 pages;
- Women's Peace Policy, compilation, 2002, 90 pages;
- By Strengthening Civil Society, We Create Peace, compilation, 2002, 106 pages;
- Globalization: Problems, Dilemmas, and Answers, compilation, 2003, 180 pages;
- Women, Health and Disarmament, compilation, 2003, 162 pages;
- Another Power is Possible, compilation, 2004, 78 pages;
- Women, Peace Security, compilation, 2005, 186 pages;
- Confronting the Past—A Feminist Approach, compilation, 2005, 232 pages;
- Gender, Nation, Identity, in English, 2005, 222 pages;
- From the Patriarchal Construction to Alternative Politics, 2006, 208 pages;
- Warning Signs of Fundamentalism and Feminist Responses, 2006, 244 pages.
- Women, Peace and Democracy
- Confronting the Past—A Feminist Approach
- Peace, Women’s Human Rights and Solidarity
- Women’s Peace Politics
- Warning Signs of Fundamentalism
- The Women’s Peace Coalition
Women against War: In 1994 and 1995, we published four issues of the magazine in Serbian, English, Italian and Spanish.
Objection: Nine issues of this magazine for antimilitarism and conscientious objection were produced from 1996 to 1999.
Aesthetic Antiwar Resistance
We printed more than a thousand copies of dozens of posters and stickers, more than a thousand copies of hundreds of leaflets, more than a thousand peace postcards, and more than a thousand peace and feminist T-shirts. Photographic exhibits on the activities of Women in Black have been presented in Serbia and abroad (in Germany, Italy, Spain, the USA, Croatia, and at EXPO 2000). A large quality of documentary material has been filmed about Women in Black, of which we produced the films Žene u crnom (Women in Black) in 1997 and Uvek neposlusne (Always Disloyal) in 2006.
Awards and Honors
Millennium Peace Prize, awarded by UNIFEM in 2001;
Three nominations for the Nobel Prize for Peace (as a group in 2001 and 2003 and Staša Zajović as an individual in 2005);
The Konstantin Obradović Prize for Human Rights, 2005.
Nomination for the Saharov Prize, awarded by the European Parliament, 2006;
and many other prizes.