September 21st, 2010. International Day of Peace
Regarding the International day of Peace, Women in Black Network Serbia reminds that peace and nonviolence are essential conditions for development, and survival of every society. We want to remind the representatives of state institutions, especially the Ministry of Defense and National Security Council that if Serbia wants to demilitarize it’s society, has to sign, ratify and begin to implement the UN Convention on Cluster Munitions and destroy all stocks of cluster munitions in it’s possession.
The Convention officially came into force on the August 1st 2010 and it prohibits the use, production, storage and transport of these types of weapons and implies destruction of all stocks that countries have in possession. Serbia is one of the countries which, during the drafting of the Convention, supported her passing, but then, in the end didn’t sign, although it has been done by 107 countries, while 37 countries ratified the Convention. The European Parliament recommended all EU members to adopt the Convention as soon as possible. Convention was signed and ratified by our neighbors Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia, while, in August 2009, Serbian officials said that Serbian Army "can not give up cluster munitions because it is a major part of its weapons.”
It is well known that cluster munition was used in 1999 air campaign against Serbia. 1080 cluster bombs has been dropped on Serbia. By 2009, in accidents caused by cluster munitions 31 people were killed, 160 wounded, while the 6618 square kilometers of Serbia is treated as an area with high level of risk from unexploded cluster munitions. We are concerned that representatives of security structures in Serbian do not realize the importance of adopting this Convention, because it also addresses the issue of demining the territory from unexploded cluster munitions. In the name of peace, we demand destruction of cluster munitions.
In the time when 9% of the Serbia’s population lives in absolute poverty, 60% below the poverty line, while Serbia is the first country in Europe in the number of women suffering from cervical cancer, the main interest of our society and its elite,should be a general demilitarization of the economy, politics, morale, consciousness and investing in peace. The dominant ideology of nationalism and profits leads to further militarization of society, abolishes social justice and democratic values and leads to a new war.
Because of all that, we want to ask Serbian authorities why do they refuse to adopt the Convention on cluster munitions in the name of Serbia?
The public has a right to know:
Does Serbia produce cluster munitions?
Does Serbia trade cluster munitions?
How many cluster munitions Serbia possess in its storages?
Did Serbia misuse cluster weapons in wars in former Yugoslavia?
Belgrade, 20th September, 2010.