Women in Black activities in 2020 – brief rewiev

During 2020, the number of activities was reduced due to the pandemic virus COVID 19, especially during emergency state. Immediately after the end of emergency state (May 6th), we continued with our activities ‘in live’. We bring very short and concise quantitative review- report. if you are interested in more information, you can find them on our web site or contact us by mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Street actions – 23

  • Commemoration/marking of important dates of crimes committed in our name, as well as other crimes against civilian population, during and after the wars, on the territory of former Yugoslavia – 9
  • Feminist, anti-fascist, anti-war, anti-racist, anti-militaristic actions – 14

In these actions took part app. 450 persons.

Dealing with the past / transitional justice - a feminist approach

Visiting the places of crime committed in our name as well as other crimes against the civilian population during the wars in the former Yugoslavia: 12 visits (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia) in following places – chronologically: Vukovar, January; Srebrenica/Potočari and Prijepolje - February; Belgrade – April; Foča, Đulići, Tuzla - June; Srebrenica, July; Lučani – July and August; Sjeverin and Topčider/Belgrade – October.

Accountability for the crimes - the path to just peace: monitoring the trials at the Special Court in Belgrade

We attended four (4) trials – twenty sessions (20) of the following crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Kravica/Srebrenica, Kalinovik and Brčko; Štrpci, Serbia.

During this period, many trials were often canceled due to the epidemiological situation.

Artistic engagement in dealing with the past/transitional justice

During this period, the practice of joint work and cooperation between art collectives, professional theaters, artists engaged in artistic design of resistance to war, war crimes, repression, human rights violations has continued. In this reporting period we organized following events:

“The nineties: a vocabulary of migrations in Serbia” - exhibition at the Museum of Yugoslavia organized in six parts and in framework of ‘Art-activists initiative’ were presented artistic/activist work of WiB and art collective ‘Škart’ called “Dignity-Solidarity-Internationalism” at the refugee camps (in Serbia during the 90’s.); a visit (February 6th) to the exhibition together with then activists from Croatia, Spain and Serbia; Belgrade, March 8th - "Peace with a Woman's Face": the exhibition in the Gallery of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights / YIHR organized by the ZDF Foundation (Belgrade and Sarajevo), 'Lara' Bijeljina, 'Horizonti' Tuzla, WiB and YIHR Belgrade). We continued the practice of design street performances – working meeting with art collectives Škart, Dah theater, Hleb theater etc.

Video activism: transitional justice – feminist approach

Group of video activism of WIB group realized four (4) documentary movies on street actions: March 8 „Feminism forward, Patriarchy Back” July, 11 ('We will never forget Srebrenica genocide“; November 9th ('Stop fascism'); December 6th ('Stop killing women').

Women's Court – feminist approach to Justice – documentary about W’sC in Sarajevo (May 7-10, 2015); director Filip Markovinović, production of WIB (2016.); this movie was translated in eleven languages and in 2020 was translated into Slovenian (‘Žensko sodišće – feministični pristop pravičnosti’); and Polish (‘Sad Kobiecy – feministyczne podejscie do sprawiedliwosci’).

„Svenka“ – a documentary about a psycholinguist, professor emeritus Svenka Savić (45 minutes); screenplay and direction by Fahrudin Kladničanin, cinematographer Nedjo Gavrić, editing by Marija Arandjelović. This movie was translated and titled into English.

(You can find video materials of the Group for Video Activism on the Žene u crnom Youtube profile on youtube.com)

Women’s Court – feminist approach

Women’s Court was held in Sarajevo from 7th to 10th May 2015, organized by 10 women's groups from the territory of the former Yugoslavia. WIB Belgrade coordinated five years process as well as the continuation of the process of the W'sC coordinates program and other activities, with the support of organizations: Anima, Kotor/Montenegro), Center for Women Victims of War, Zagreb/Croatia (regional meetings of Network of W'sC witnesses, public presentation, Mothers for Peace in Solidarity, feminist ethic and responsibility etc.).

During 2020 following activities were realized:

Public presentation of W’sC: Ljuljiana/Slovenia February,25, Faculty of political Sciences/University of Ljubljana, attended by app. 200 students and their professors.

Feminist ethic of care and responsibility: four (4) solidarity visits to witnesses (January 25 and 26 in Tuzla/BH; Leskovac/Serbia, October 21; Pljevlja/Montenegro, October 22 and 23; Zrenjanin/Serbia, December 29.

Monitoring of war crimes - Trials for war crimes before the Special Court in Belgrade: together with the relatives of the killed and witnesses of W'sC the trials are followed by activists of the WiB. After March 2020, they weren't able to come but due to epidemiological situation.

Networks, coalitions - mutual support and solidarity

WIB Network meetings: three (3) attended by 120 activists:

February 7, 8 and 9, in Vrnjačka Banja - 45 activists from Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Poland and Spain.

June, 12, 13 and 14. in Radmilovac near - 32 activists from whole Serbia; this ’extraordinary’ meeting was dedicated to the pandemic Covid 19 (extraordinary meeting on the Covid-19 pandemic ('The specter of Corona is haunting the world').

17, 18. i 19. September 17, 18 and 19 in Vrnjačka Banja - 43 activists from 15 towns of BH, Montenegro, Croatia, USA); the continuation of exchange of experiences, knowledge, joint reflection about pandemic consequences and other issues.

Educational and research programs

Research on women's reproductive and labor rights in Serbia: on the impact of growing tendencies of clericalization on women's attitudes about reproductive rights and the connection between labor legislation (labor rights) and reproductive rights. This research as weel the publication were presented in following places:

Vrnjačka Banja, 17. 9 (43 activists at WIB Network meeting); Belgrade, 29. 9. (6 persons attended press conference at WiB premises); Kotor, Montenegro 25.10. (14 persons and Novi Sad, 19.11. (11 persons). These presentations were attended by 74 persons.

“Growing clericalization in different contexts – democratic and feminist responses – two operational meetings of Coalitions for secularism of Serbia and Croatia: in Zagreb, January, 13 and Belgrade, January, 27. Other planned meeting were cancelled due to the pandemic.

Women's Peace Activism - Đulići, Bosnia and Herzegovina – in framework of this educational program (have been organizing since the beginning of 2016) were held three (3) gatherings: March, 12; June 25 and December 10, attended by 56 women from a dozen of places of Zvornik area, Eastern Bosnia.

Feminist discussion circles/FDC– were organized four (4) FDC, attended by 55 persons:

20. September 20 – organized by WiB and Women’s Studies and Research from Novi Sad, took place in WiB office, with participation of 13 activists from 9 towns of Serbia and one from Montenegro. This FDC was dedicated to development of academic program of Women’s Studies and Gender Studies at Belgrade and Novi Sad universities.

Kotor, October 25 – organized by Anima/Kotor, WIB/Belgrade and Academic initiative 10 from Novi Pazar; in this FDC ’What to do?’ Montenegro at crossroads – about current situation after the election in Montenegro (August 30, 2020); participated 14 persons (civil society activists, journalists, members of academic community from Montenegro and Serbia).

Belgrade, October – about challenges, problems and dilemmas of contemporary left movement; this FDC was held in WiB office and attended by 7 persons (scientists, civil society activists).

Novi Sad, November, 19 - this FDC was organized by: „Women's Studies and Research' from Novi Sad, association ...IZ KRUGA Vojvodina, Novi Sad and WiB, Belgrade; this FDC was dedicated to feminist work – theoretical and activist engagement of Professor Emerita Svenke Savić, who in June 2020 turned 80; this event was attended by 11 persons.

Beograd/Radmilovac, December 14. and 15 „Borbena žalost – Političko disidentstvo i Žene u crnom“, of Greek philosopher Athena Athanasiou (Agonistic Mourning – Political Dissidence and the Women in Black, Athena Athanasiou, Edinburgh University Press); this book was translated by WIB, September 2020. During joint reflection on the book spoke actors of this book – WiB activists and collaborators who inspired A. Athanasiou book. This FDC consisted by five sessions. Also, the following sessions were organized: on WIB activities in 2020 (Reports and analysis) as well as the plan of activities for future period (challenges, problems) and evaluation. This FDC was attended by 17 activists from Belgrade, Pančevo, Subotica, Zagreb and Pljevlja/Montenegro.

Mutual support – we participated in a lot of activities of other close civil society organization (lectures, debates (mainly online), press conferences, book promotions, etc.

Discussion circles, lectures, debates at the Women in Black premises - "Wednesdays at WiB"

The practice of regular discussions, lectures and joint reflections on important social and political issues in the country and the world etc. During 2020 was held 30 events attended by 410 persons. In framework of this activity, we organized 3 thematic circles: Feminist approach to health (5 sessions); Joint reflection on the pandemic consequences (5 sessions) and 16 days of activism against violence against women (4 sessions).

Solidarity is our strength

Solidarity actions - with members of vulnerable and disadvantaged minority communities (social-class, ethnic-racial, sexual), citizens whose human rights (working, educational, cultural) are endangered.

I Solidarity with War Refugees from Middle East - Women in Black started in 2013 when solidarity campaigns against racist attacks were organized that culminated at the end of 2013.

During 2020 we organized:

Direct actions - solidarity assistance in the field consists in few segments:

  • Visits of places in Belgrade where refugees are located – activists of the WiB provided solidarity assistance in parks in Belgrade, as well as in self-organized refugee camps in Belgrade until March 2020. Besides, the practice of assistance in solidarity in the form of WiB visits to the refugees living in the refugee center in Krnjača near Belgrade.
  • Pljevlja, Montenegro (on the border between Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina) - visits to the open center Bona Fide (WIB Network) who organize humanitarian aid and support to refugees. Bona Fide activists organized aid for refugees from 2017 and till now few thousands of refugees/migrants from Middle East passed through this center. During 2020 WiB activists from Serbia visited Pljevlja two (2) times: January 6 to 9 and October 22 and 23, providing humanitarian aid and solidarity help to Bona Fide center in their work with refugees.
  • Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina - refugees began arriving in June 2018 in this city from the direction of Serbia and Montenegro, as a 'transit' place to Croatia. During 2020, WIB Network activist from Tuzla, on behalf of WIB Belgrade, organized 10 actions of humanitarian aid and solidarity support to refugees: January 26 together WiB Belgrade and Srebrenica women; February 15, 26 and 29; June 20 and 24; July 7 and 13; October 23 and November, 12.

In addition to this, solidarity with war refugees Women in Black is expressed by other activities statements, appeals; international solidarity (contacts and encounters with regional and international organizations – exchange of information, gatherings, designing of joint actions).

II Justice for Marija Lukić – monitoring the trials for sexual harassment in Brus and Kruševac: Marija Lukić victim of sexual harassment committed by Milutin Jeličić Jutka, ex-mayor of the municipality of Brus. This trial began in May, 27, 2019 and later was transferred in Kruševac. WiB attended all 8 court hearings; notably, a large number of hearings was postponed. During 2020 we attended 6 hearings (January 29; February, 21; March, 6; June, 10 and 19 and July 10, when the accused M.J.Jutka was condemned to 3 months of prison.

III Solidarity with the Milivojevic Family from Lučani - The Ivanjica trials
Criminal proceedings against the Director General of the Milan Blagojevic-Namenska Arms Factory, Lucani and two executives from the same factory. They are charged with 'committing a serious crime against general security' because on July 14th, 2017, workers Milomir Milojevic and Milojko Ignjatovic were killed after a gunpowder explosion. WIB was attending all hearings (since November 2019) and in 2020 we attended 5 hearings (February 7; June 11; September 1; November 3 and December 17). Trials have been accompanied by constant obstruction; due to pandemics they are often delayed.

IV Solidarity with journalists – we monitored two trials in the courts in Belgrade - a total of 10 hearings:

The trial for setting fire to the house of journalist Milan Jovanović - journalist (portal Žig info) took place on December 12, 2018. A fire was set in which his house burned down. Former President of the Municipality of Grocka, Dragoljub Simonović, has been accused of inciting the burning of a journalist's house. The trial began in April 2019, and during 2020, 6 hearings were held. This trial has also been accompanied by constant obstructions, and due to the pandemic, the hearings are constantly being postponed.

The trial for the murder of journalist Slavko Ćuruvija - Slavko Ćuruvija - owner and editor-in-chief of the daily "Dnevni Telegraf", who was killed on April 11, 1999. The trial of four former members of the State Security Department was resumed, after five years, in 2020. So far, 4 hearings have been scheduled, all of which have been postponed.

V Solidarity with activists during pandemic (COVID 19)

Since the beginning of pandemic Wib established different forms of mutual support and solidarity among WiB Networks activists and we mention some:

Solidarity visits/gatherings with activists – joint pondering on different aspects of the pandemic: Serbia - during 2020 we visited 14 towns and Đulići, Eastern Bosnia we visited 3 times.

Solidarity support to WIB Network activists – according our possibility, distribution of modest humanitarian aid for the most socially vulnerable activists in WiB Network.

Publishing activities – during 2020, we published five (5) publications:

Research on women's reproductive and labor rights in Serbia: on the impact of growing tendencies of clericalization on women's attitudes about reproductive rights and the connection between labor legislation (labor rights) and reproductive rights. The research was led by professors Ildiko Erdei and Lidija Radulović (Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, Department of Ethnology). The publication consists of the following parts: Preface, Research on Reproductive and Labor Rights of Women in Serbia, Analysis of Empirical Material and Interpretation of Results and Contextualization. The publication has 133 pages, and is printed in 300 copies, the design was done by the group Škart, while the cover was done by Studio Čavka.

Atena Atanasiju, - Translation of the book Agonistic Mourning – Political Dissidence and the Women in Black by Athena Athananasiou (Edinburgh University Press), A. Atanasiou is professor at the Panteion University (Social Anthropology and Gender Theory at the Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences) in Athens, Greece. The book has 4 chapters, 320 pages; it was translated by Ana Imširović, and the reviews were done by professors Judith Butler (University of Berkeley, California) and Daša Duhaček (Faculty of Political Science, University of Belgrade). The design for the book was done by the group Škart, and the layout was done by Studio Čavka. The book was printed in 500 copies.

Videtheque/WiBtheque: video activism group of Woman in Black

The publication brings a list of different kind of video materials (documentaries, performances etc.) made by the group for video activism Women in Black from November 2009 to September 2020, 320 of which are classified into 17 thematic units. The publication has 44 pages, edited by Staša Zajović. The design was done by Djordje Balmazović, and the layout was done by Zinaida Marjanović.

Women's Peace Agenda for 2021 - agenda is dedicated to 30 years of activities of WIB Belgrade, presenting WiB the very short and concise review of WIB activities; agenda for 2021 has 168 pages, layout is made by Studio Čavka.

Women in Black Calendar for 2021 - Calendar made of photographs of street actions of Women in Black during 2020 (art photograph Srđan Veljović); calendar has 26 pages.

Reports (longer ones):
  • WIB Network meetings (February, June and September) – 150 pages
  • General reports on WIB activities in Serbian (3 – 77 pages) as well as in English (3- 82 pages)
  • Discussion circles, debates “Wednesdays at WIB’ – 66 pages
  • Report from the field - Solidarity in the times of Corona virus in Serbian (16 pg.) and in English version 19 pages.
  • Feminist discussion circles – 45 pages

The listed, as well as shorter reports, which not listed, were made on the basis of hundreds of pages of transcripts.

  • Chaotic Emergency State - Pandemic of Covid-19 Disease and State of Emergency in Serbia (8 pages)
  • Militarization at the time of the Corona - Serbia 2020 (9 pages) and Militarization at the time of the Corona - Serbia 2020 (10 pages)
  • Dossiers ‘Repression of Human Rights Defenders’ (Nos. 16 and 17 –18 pages); and ‘Repression Against Human Rights Defenders’ (18 pages)
  • Reports from trials - 24 pages
  • Statements, appeals – 29 dealing with the past - responsibility for war crimes, violence against women, against repression of political opponents; over refugees.

Women in Black received in 2020 the following recognition (July): FRIEND OF BOSNIA Charter for 2020. “As a sign of gratitude for the friendship and exceptional contribution to the preservation and affirmation of a multicultural, democratic, sovereign Bosnia and Herzegovina, Women in Black, Belgrade, were awarded with this Charter," reads the explanation of the association Bosphorus from Sarajevo.

The above-mentioned activities were realized with the financial support od:

Global Fund for Women – 25.000,00 $
Kvinna till Kvinna – 20.466,00 EUR
Reconstruction Women’s Fund – 2.055,760 rsd – 17.541,00 EUR
Medica mondiale – 1.420,00 EUR

We would like to take this opportunity to thank them, and above all the activists, art groups, scientists who have contributed on a volunteer basis to the work of Women in Black during 2020, as well as since the inception of WiB.

Women in Black, January 2021

Report on our activities in pdf.

Print   Email