CENTRE FOR NONVIOLENT ACTION
September – December 1997
Sarajevo, 3rd December 1997
The following report is based on 3 months research which involved contacts with numerous local and international NGOs working in Bosnia and Hercegovina
Living and working in Sarajevo
The first three months of work in Sarajevo was a turbulent time with unexpected problems and unexpected smoothness in pursuit of the plan. I have very quickly got used to a perfectly abnormal situation around me. Almost every wall in the town carries traces of the recent war, bullet holes everywhere, grenade holes in the pavement of the bridges, where a false step could lead one into the shallow Miljacka river underneath. But despite that, there is normality within it. There is much car traffic and shiny shop windows with goods from all over the world, for those who can pay. Fancy cafes selling no local products, but Mexican, Irish and Czech beer for foreigners and the locals working for them who can afford it. Outside on the street there are children begging, giving the standard story of being a child of the sehids (fallen Muslim fighters). Young women in fashionable, traditional Muslim outfits become ever more visible on the streets, some Sarajevans dislike this new development.
Trams are running, and it is easy to identify where the donated ones have come from as they are still covered with commercials and signs in Hungarian, German or Czech. Along the main riverside road in the city centre, there are traffic signs for Belgrade, but no public transport anywhere to Republika Srpska, which starts at the edge of the hill just a couple of hundred meters away. Sarajevans still call their bridges and streets by the old names from prewar times, reluctant to remember the new names, mostly with an Islamic background. Huge four-wheel drive cars speed through the streets of Sarajevo, the property of some few hundred humanitarian organisations doing their work in BiH. Foreign humanitarian work seems to be a major business sector.
Being a Serb (the environment defines your belonging drawer) from outside Sarajevo carries few problems, as long as one knows the rules and acts cautiously enough. Being a Sarajevo Serb is another story.
Why did you come here and not stay in Germany? Is a question I have been asked a few times. Explaining that I don‘t earn big money, but work for a small German peace organisation is not a satisfying answer. They think I must have been thrown out of Germany. I could be just another refugee, who does not want to talk about his humiliations. A chat in the shop hardly allows for deeper analysis of my motivations to come to Sarajevo. It is mostly at times of frequent electricity, water, telephone and heating collapse/reduction,
that I have asked myself the same question. Still, even with my international volunteer pocket money, the reality of thousands of Sarajevo based families who cannot pay their electricity bills and are cut off, is distanced miles away from me.
Political situation, perceptions from different angles (Military-civil), war/peace, aggression/no aggression, political helplessness, generalisation, militarisation, contradictory visions and contradicted visions
„We did not‘t have a conflict here, we‘ had an aggression!“ (peace activist from BiH Federation) The question of responsibility for the war is a difficult one in BiH. The guilt becomes ownership of nationalities, and even those who stand up for a unified BiH have no reply to the question on what to do with those who do not feel the same. It is the Bosniak view which often includes these contradictions of their vision, being a contradiction to the vision of nationalist Serbs and Croats who still vehemently declare their unwillingness to live with other nations. Those who claim moral integrity for their ‚war side‘ hardly allow the thought that war and peace are also their own responsibility. Peace as the absence of war is the definition that remains. Each war side, and the majority of people respectively, approve official opinions or rather do not have their own opinion. The quotation above speaks clearly about conflicts which are bad as such, and it implies immediately who bears the guilt for the war. Generalisation is common for some Sarajevans, the people from RS are ґthose who shot at us for 3 years .
But do any of us from outside have the right to come here and try to educate those who suffered so much, and tell them that their standpoints are wrong!? Their standpoints are often just shields of helplessness, which we need to recognise and respect. It is the helplessness that results from years of experience in being robbed of basic rights and freedoms. It is also fear of the inevitable reconciliation process which ґwe do not need because we did not have a conflict, but aggression‘. These people need to be heard, it needs to be made sure that they can speak and be listened to. They need to regain their individual voice, to accept it as their own and recognise it‘s power before they can make the huge step of admitting that pain has been suffered by all sides and that depersonalised / nationalised guilt is nonexistent. People need to emancipate themselves from the homogeneous mass they have been pressed into for years, and they need to be given credit, respect and understanding for this survival strategy.
It will be a long road before reaching the stage that depersonalising the guilt of nations is not a devaluation of the pain and suffering of individuals.
„The war has stopped“ (cab driver)
War is an inevitability, a natural disaster. The language defines the perception of the war in people‘s eyes. The ways to resist war remain uncovered and denied. Shrugged shoulders and restless hands say ‚there is nothing one can do about it‘. Absence of war is peace, intermediate between two disasters, accidentally happening here and now. What can be done to break out of the hands of this invisible almighty power that rules times of war and peace?
„I‘vie seen both sides“ (student from Sarajevo)
At my question „Why don‘t you have any prejudices?“, I got the reply „I‘vie seen both sides“. This man in his mid twenties has been wounded in the war 3 times. His youngish round face, with a smile, shines mildness. What can be done to empower the voice of this man?
„Some people start to live at 28 years of age and what do we have – we have entities“ (passerby in RS)
Like their neighbours in the Federation, people in Republika Srpska (RS) live in a militarised environment, in a disastrous economic situation with widespread poverty and hardly any future perspectives, except for the dream of immigration. RS citizens can get their passports only in Sarajevo, where many of them fear to go. Their corrupt, chauvinistic politicians hold power firmly in their hands and are unwilling to hear any opinion that is not confirmation of their own. Propaganda fairy tales announce the construction of a new Serbian Sarajevo city on the muddy lawns between Lukavica and Dobrinja, the two suburb areas of Sarajevo that belong to RS.
Major conflict lines
– between Serbs and Bosniaks (Muslim Bosnians)
– between Croats and Bosniaks
– between Croats and Serbs
– between multiethnic families and their environment – everywhere
– between refugees and real owners of the accommodation refugees live in
– between refugees and domestic population everywhere (cities and villages)
– between refugees who return from foreign countries and inner Bosnian refugees (displaced persons)
– between returnees and those who spent the war in BiH
– between the rural and urban population
– between radical nationalists/religious fundamentalist and the more liberal population
– between the unemployed and employed
– between locals and internationals
CENTAR ZA NENASILNU AKCIJU
(Centre for nonviolent action) KURVE Wustrow, work
Centar za nenasilnu akciju is the name of the KURVE Wustrow project office in Sarajevo/Bosnia and Hercegovina. The name KURVE has negative connotation in the Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian language. The abbreviation is CNA.
The present Coordinator and only volunteer of the project in the field is Nenad Vukosavljevic, a 30 year old trainer in nonviolent conflict resolution, coming originally from Belgrade, who has lived in Germany for the past seven years.
Activities September-November 97
CNA has tried to gather as much information as possible concerning the activities of local and international NGOs and GOs in training for nonviolent conflict resolution. The aim of these meetings and communication had the purpose of coordinating our work with others already active in the area and assessing the needs of groups who need support and advice. Ground has been laid for the first exploratory phase of the work through previous contacts
such as the networking of KURVE, our engagement in BPT support work and the 3 month course in civil conflict resolution held in Germany last Summer, where 12 participants from different peace projects on the territory of former Yugoslavia took part. Contacts have been established with groups and individuals from Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Gornji Vakuf, Zenica, Tuzla, Travnik, Belgrade and Zagreb. Cooperative training work with local persons is planned, firstly through cooperation with the coordinator of the Circle-Krug group that gathers students from all parts of BiH across the entity lines, and through further cooperation partners and terms of cooperation that remain to be arranged.
Due to limited travel possibilities within BiH (without a car) most of the work is run from the Sarajevo office. On invitation CNA visited a Miramida training in nonviolence and peace building, organised by the Anti Ratna Kampanja (ARK) from Zagreb and the Helsinki Citizens Assembly from Banja Luka. Another visit outside Sarajevo was to the Pax Christi social project with refugees in Begov Han (near Zenica), exploring possibilities of reaching out to the rural population within the work, and implementing seminars that would be suitable and acceptable for them.
Assessment of needs, interests and capacities of local NGOs
Most of the groups which expressed interest in training work, or are already involved in it, name financing as their major problem. Most of them also have an interest in further education and experience exchange. Structural problems and lack of experience in organisation is definitely a huge problem. These difficulties are not surprising in view of the fact that the NGO community in BiH is only a few years old.
Very few well developed local groups are capable of meeting the demands of large sponsors, and feel overpowered with them. There is a clear lack of strategy, evaluation and analysis in their work. Local individuals and groups suffer from a lack of initiative. This is the result of helplessness, a feeling imposed on them during the war. In their bad financial situation groups easily slip into competition with each other for the limited money pots, instead of
cooperating and working on long term programmes and projects. This lack of vision is wide spread in BiH, as opposed to e.g. Anti Ratna Kampanja (Anti War Campaign) in Croatia.
Another tendency/habit of small grass roots groups in BiH is to orientate themselves by the guidelines of international sponsors, instead of making their own strategy first and approaching possible sponsors afterwards. Such a state of affairs can lead to an uncritical acceptance of external influences and visions which results in the perception of locals being of minor value compared to the internationals (westerners). Indeed there are large international NGOs and GOs which do not trust locals to be skilled and honest enough to pursue the work themselves.
There are some local people, employees of large international NGOs and GOs, who have received some education in nonviolent conflict resolution from international trainers who visited BiH. But the training participants have done nothing further with it. There is no multiplication of the training, although a positive affect might exist which is limited to the organisational structures themselves (invisible to the outside world). The lack of use of local capacities may happen due to the lack of local initiative, but also as the result of unavailable possibilities to gain trust and take on responsibility within the structures of foreign organisations (the employers).
Many local people are over privileged, have jobs at large international agencies, are well paid and show no initiative themselves. This causes dependency and hence there is no self sustainability of locals secured. Certainly no generalisation can be made on these issues, these are just negative tendencies. CNA has had also very positive experiences with local
people working for big international NGOs, being very engaged and open for cooperation.
There are plenty of individuals and groups in BiH which consider violence reduction through training as a very important issue, and are willing to invest their energy for these goals. Their needs usually cover a wide area: money, grant proposal writing, advice on programme development, additional education, contacts, supervision. There are already local NGOs and Networks e.g. hCa youth network and NGO Information and Support Centre
which are dealing with issues of networking, service and advice, although their capacities do not allow individual support work, apart from legal advice. Both mentioned initiatives work with all NGOs in it‘s widest sense, from rock groups, traditional ethnic groups up to human rights groups.
There is an obvious need for cooperation and support within the spectrum of peace groups. The synergy effect could strengthen them through gathered capacities and skills, enabling experience exchange, a common needs evaluation and strategy development. Through this, local NGOs would reach the role they should have, namely of those who define the guidelines for donors, and who present themselves as the remarkable social and political
elements that they actually are.
The role of Networking/target groups
Networking is one of the goals of CNA and it is (may be) pursued at 3 different levels: through training as the meeting point, through networking meetings and through personal contacts and recommendations. Trainings certainly fulfil the function of networking through bringing people together and giving them a chance to get to know each other intensely,
offering possibilities of further direct contacts, or through training follow ups. Participant selection takes this aspect into account. Networking meetings bring a wider spectrum of groups together through experience exchange and offering a chance to present their work.
Personal contacts and recommendations are widespread networking system in the area, that CNA has quickly profited from, but had also been in situation to act in bringing groups together. There is a need for a networking of peace groups across the borders of BiH, particularly as experience in Serbia and Croatia particularly can be very helpful. Anti Ratna Kampanja (ARK) from Zagreb has held 2 trainings in BiH so far (one in Federation BiH, one in RS), which were very useful on a networking basis Womens groups in BiH could
particularly profit from the experiences of the womens groups from neighbouring countries, which are much more developed then those here. Many women expressed reluctance towards taking on the values of western women groups, whom they consider to be inappropriate for the region. In work with women groups local cultural values and sensitivities need to be given particular attention.
CNA has not met any group from BiH that has made war resistance their cause. Most of the human rights groups in BiH work on a high political level through e.g. the media . Those working on individual cases are rare and need support (e.g. international accompaniment) Individual representatives of religious communities do reconciliation work, lonely islands in a sea of hatred. The hierarchical structures of religious communities hardly allow any individual engagement on a small scale despite the wide interest of many international
organisations with religious background willing to support this kind of work. It does not lack money and structures, it lacks political will in the hierarchy of religious communities.
CNA Training concept
The training concepts need to be adjusted to the region and to local communication modes. The training programme will concentrate on team-work skills and empowerment. The approach to the work, particularly in ethnically mixed groups, brings with it a large potential for conflict. A safe space for tackling present tensions in a constructive manner must gradually be produced. The widespread inability to concentrate for longer periods of time,
and a lack of initiative, demands particular sensitivity and flexibility by trainers.
The aim is to enable people to use skills learned during training, in their work in NGOs and their everyday environment. And also to enable them to perceive conflict situations differently. The idea is that taking responsibility for themselves and granting importance and power to themselves will lead to a projection of the same attitude to the groups they work with and the society they live in.
Within empowerment and team work, accents will be given to gender specific issues, communication skills, responsibility to the group, trust building, creativity (acting beyond unwritten rules), tolerance / prejudice reduction and human / minority rights. Although it is clear that not all of these issues could be included in all trainings, depending on length and the participant group.
Ethnically / regionally balanced training teams would be helpful in overcoming possible prejudice towards the trainers themselves, based on their origin. The risk of rejection may not however be completely excluded.
Opportunities of the trainings are to:
– improve understanding of democratic rules
– raise the capacities of participants for a better understanding of political processes and the definition of their own space to act within it
– empower individuals to step out in protection of the rights of their fellow citizens and themselves
– produce a multiplying affect
– initiate small scale reconciliation process / inter ethnic dialogue
– initiate concrete cooperation across the border lines
Threats / possible difficulties are:
– for trainings that take place within BiH, that some participants from other parts of BiH do not want to travel to ‚the other side‘, or feel endangered in the ‚enemy‘ environment
– inability of participants to accept the methods / inability of trainers to adjust appropriately
– unclear expectations of participants
– participantґs revival of memories on traumatic experiences
– rejection of trainers based on their ethnic origin or gender
– denial of respect to trainers due to their lack of war experience
CNA definition of goals, opportunities and limitations
(needs we cannot meet)
Target groups, city/village, majority/minority (across former Yugoslavia)
In defining the target group for the training the leading objective is the designed multiplying effect. We will try to run workshops involving people from cities and rural areas. There is a need to work on prejudices between these two groups, and we also want to reach out to the rural population which is short of information and possibilities. The urban population Balkan the region has a traditional prejudice against the rural population which dates from the times of
fast industrialisation and huge population movements of the rural population towards the cities during the communist rule of former Yugoslavia. Because of the banishment (ethnic cleansing) that took place during the Bosnian war, another flood of the rural population, in the form of refugees, has come to the cities. Thus similar tensions and old prejudices have been revived. We will run workshops with mixed groups, but also with ‚majority ethnic
groups‘ of the area. This will aim at empowering and mobilising participants for work in their area. If on the other hand we work solely with majority groups who have become engaged in peace work because of their own experiences of discrimination, we would expose ourselves to the criticism that we are taking party. The expected social effect through work with the majority ethnic groups is also larger. Bringing input on themes like anti militarism, gender issues, human rights, civil society / democracy and experiences from other countries – offers a global view.
We will try to include whenever possible, participants from other former Yugoslav countries (Kosovo, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia). The expected effect of such choice is again the broadening of views and sensitivities for the participants in relation to problems and conflicts in their own areas. This will then be accompanied by a gaining of knowledge on how to deal with them in a constructive and productive way.
Enabling local people to work independently and share this knowledge in their organisation and the NGO sector.
Selection of trainers and their education
Identifying capable locals willing to receive further education as trainers in nonviolent conflict resolution and including them in the training team.
Supporting their independent work through advice and empowerment.
Cooperation with qualified local trainers
Including qualified local trainers in the training team and / or recommending them elsewhere.
Exchanging opinions and experience on concepts.
Identifying their needs in further education and eventually inviting them through KURVE to such seminars outside the country.
Offering them a chance to gather international experience and contacts (within our possibilities) through invitations to training events outside the country as participants and/or trainers.
Organisational support and advice
Exploring possibilities of individual support and advice on various issues as a long term commitment.
Gradual transfer of CNA work onto local staff
Identifying capable locals who wish to join the CNA team, with long term commitment and prospective
Priorities and realities
CNA‘s focus should be training work, where our qualifications can be most useful. There is a growing demand for the education of trainers from locals and internationals working in projects here, which can not be covered by CNA alone.
CNA will concentrate on training implementation and advice, with the prospect of programme development and the implementation of the Training for Trainers, and extra programme development for work in villages.
The support to womens groups and human rights groups can be met only through networking and individual communication training. Advice and supervision on organisational issues and structures is a possibility during training follow up, or on request. The same kind of support is also needed for other peace groups. Meeting demands for this kind of support is limited by present CNA capacities. CNA does recognise the need for this kind of work.
CNA prioritises cooperation with different local and international groups in these activities, with obligatory inclusion of locals.CNA will widen the contacts with groups and individuals doing trainings in nonviolent conflict resolution, aiming at least coordination and possibly cooperation.
CNA will give priority to local initiatives in our choice of cooperation partners.
CNA will aim to develop cooperation with groups from Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia and in particular from Kosovo.
CNA plans no development of the central office for networking, training and NGO assistance, as this would be beyond our capacities and intentions. Such development may only be envisioned by future local staff of CNA (should it have any).
International GOs and large NGOs
(OSCE, UN, ICVA, DRC, Save the children, German Advisory Office, UMCOR)
OSCE Democratisation branch – is divided into many different departments, including the Department. for Youth and Education and the Department for Community Development. These departments finance SHL Youth Camps and show an honest interest in supporting NGO work that is aiming at civil society development in it‘s wider sense. Direct contacts have not yet been established, although indirectly through SHL the connection exists. OSCE is not only a possible donor, but also a possible partner for solving logistical problems like inter entity transport and similar. The OSCE Democratisation branch has a good image within the NGO sector, unlike OSCE as an election organising and implementing organisation.
UN Development Programme – organised / financed some conflict resolution workshops in BiH previously. A Gornji Vakuf training will be organised by the UNDP volunteer / coordinator. Further cooperation possibilities are as yet unexplored. The Gornji Vakuf project is not a typical project of UNDP.
ICVA International Council of Voluntary Agencies – provides legal assistance to NGOs and acts as a representative body for the NGO lobby. ICVA provides information on donors and acts as an agent for the micro projects of EU Phare and Tacis Democracy programmes. ICVA publishes regular updates of their data bank, the Directory of NGOs in BiH, which offers an overview of NGOs working in BiH.
DRC Danish Refugee Council and Save the Children expressed an interest in organising and sponsoring training in nonviolent conflict resolution for children and youth. CNA has not yet applied for project funding as we are still gathering information on needed training programmes and local capacities. The precondition for cooperation should be a partnership in project development with local organisations.
German Advisory Office for Rehabilitation and Reintegration – acts as the umbrella of large German GOs and NGOs (Diakonie among others). Their resources and activities mainly focus on reconstruction that would enable refugee return. Limited funds are available for youth and educational work (possibly including returnees). This is a scheme where nonviolent trainings fit in. It has to be noted that a large amount of money comes from the German government which has a major interest in getting rid of Bosnian refugees as soon as possible (harshness of implementation varies from province to province).
UMCOR United Methodist Committee on Relief – has it‘s own conflict resolution programme, coordinated by a Bosnian woman. UMCOR sent CNA their training manual in Bosnian and irregular contact is being held. Future cooperation is possible, but not yet arranged.
Smaller international NGOs
(SHL, Pax Christi, QPS)
SHL Schьler Helfen Leben (Pupils help live) – have established a supportive and trustful relationship with CNA. Cooperation is already underway with a Winter Camp in Hungary. SHL works very closely with young local groups, supporting them in different ways, using their excellent access to OSCE to secure this support. SHL has BiH wide contacts with youth groups, but also has a very good reputation and contacts in the GO / NGO scene. CNA has found a reliable partner in SHL, complementing each others skills and qualities.
Pax Christi, through personal contacts and collegial supervision there is cooperation with the Pax Christi volunteers and projects in Begov Han (near Zenica) and in Banja Luka. Cooperation with Pax Christi Zenica is planned in training that would include young people from the villages. The aim is to include qualified Bosnian trainers in this work. The first workshop is planned for February 98. The Banja Luka project of Pax Christi requested
cooperation and support in their future work in Republika Srpska related to training. One of the Banja Luka volunteers will join the Hungary training, taking on the task of documentation. Another aspect of this cooperation with Pax Christi is to gather experience in this relatively new field for them. CNA expects good team work with Pax Christi.
QPS Quaker Peace and Service, expressed an interest in CNA‘s work, acknowledging an obvious closeness of values, goals and visions. CNA could profit from QPS‘ experience made around the world in their peace work and maybe even financial support, although normally only local groups are supported by QPS.
(Circle-Krug, hCA, Centar za kulturu mira i nenasilja, ICHCR, Vidra, ARK, CAA)
Circle – Krug, the coordinator of Circle, Maja Saric, will be in the training team for the training in Hungary. Further cooperation with, and training of Maja as a trainer is envisioned. CNA supports / advises Circle on organisational and structural issues such as programme development and funding proposals. Circle – Krug is a brand new organisation of students from all parts of BiH (very rare), that grew out of the youth work of Wings of Hope (international NGO dealing with the detraumatisation of children and youths). Circle is still in the beginning phase of their work. CNA does not interfere in their internal goal defining process, but acts on an advisory basis on structures. Circle Krug expressed an interest in organising a workshop on nonviolent conflict resolution for it‘s members, to be run by CNA. There is no fixed date yet. Circle is also supported by SHL.
hCA Helsinki Citizens Assembly – CNA met hCA representatives from hCA International, hCA Sarajevo and hCA Banja Luka. The minimum form of cooperation is hCA assisting CNA with contacts and helping to identify future participants for training in nonviolent conflict resolution. Common projects are not planned so far. The hCA Youth Network organises inter-entity meetings for youth in BiH, empowering young people to over-come the unwritten rule of no communication between the people of different ethnicities. However it has no other clear focus for itґs work. Centar za kulturu mira i nenasilja from Tuzla staffs one qualified trainer who expressed an interest in cooperating with CNA. The Centre needs support and affirmation (it is a young organisation). CNA will try to establish some sort
of cooperation that will support the Centre, possibly through joint projects with Pax Christi. Another possibility would be to invite the trainer of the centre on advanced seminars outside BiH, which could bring more contacts and further education.
ICHCR International Centre for Help Communications and Relationships – A local organisation based in Sarajevo which works concretely and actively on conflict resolution. CNA has unsuccessfully tried to meet with ICHCR. ICHCR seems to be well experienced and qualified in this area, which is quite a rarity in BiH. One staff member is from Sarajevo, the other one from Zagreb/Croatia. Their work concentrates on leadership skills, hence long term work with a steady group of people coming from the whole region of former Yugoslavia.
Zenska akcija Vidra from Banja Luka, A group of young women wanting to do conflict resolution workshops in schools with children and teachers. They approached CNA for support and advice. One of the members is invited to the training in Hungary. Further possibilities of support need to be explored. CNA will try to bring them together with Pax Christi Banja Luka.
Anti Ratna Kampanja (ARK) from Zagreb is the network of Croatian peace groups which has much experience and is well established. The Centre for Peace Studies started their work this Autumn in Zagreb, as well as regular nonviolence and peace building trainings (so called Miramida) that are held in Croatia and BiH (twice so far). ARK is considered to be a competent and reliable partner and advisor for CNA.
CAA Centre for Antiwar Action network of peace groups from Belgrade/FR Yugoslavia – CNA met with a member of the Most group of CAA who has vast experience in organisation and implementation of nonviolent conflict resolution / transformation seminars. CNA will try to establish cooperation with Most trainers through invitations to join the training team. CAA offered help in providing contacts to Albanian groups in Kosovo, who will be invited
to the CNA training in May-June 98.
In the first year of work CNA will concentrate on a detailed assessment of needs and possibilities. Analysis will be based on training results. Most of all, CNA will follow it‘s aim to empower and assist locals for independent work and assist qualified local trainers in their needs. The assistance will momentarily not be solely based on training concept development, but will involve assistance on organisational issues. We will try to include, whenever possible, participants and trainers from other countries of the territory of former Yugoslavia. Furthermore international networking will be pursued for local trainers, for the purpose of affirming their work.
CNA does not have the goal of establishing a training centre to organises training and then search for participants. The aim is rather to organise training events in cooperation with other local and international NGOs that are designed for specified target groups. We will organise trainings and seminars with the goal of networking and exchanging experience , wider than solely training work.
Themes/areas of particular interest are conscientious objection, gender issues and human rights work. The CNA office is in charge of securing funding for these seminars while the head office of KURVE Wustrow takes on single grant proposals. CNA will produce an evaluation report after 6 months and 12 months of work. We will remain open to cooperation with international NGOs and GOs who share our goals and values. CNA understands it‘s role as assistance to locals, not as a service that would produce dependency instead of self sustainability. CNA will individually and selectively (dependent on own capacities) meet requests for supervision by locals and internationals.
Long term strategy
CNA aims no permanent presence/existence in BiH.
Yearly evaluations will serve as a basis for future strategy settings.
CNA sees the necessity to pursue the midterm plan/strategy in the coming 2 years.
CNA will keep it‘s international character through enlargement of the team, with a qualified and experienced international volunteer.
CNA will assess the needs, conditions and terms on which the transfer of responsibilities to local staff could be implemented
CNA will analyse itґs own resources and needs in other peace work sectors
Present CNA staff can not travel either to Croatia nor to FR Yugoslavia, which is certainly complicating the situation. No public transport between RS and the Federation means that travelling by car is the only possibility (or UNHCR buses Zenica-Banja Luka only) for travel across entity lines, and that even only with foreign license plates (security problem).
PERSPECTIVES OF POLITICAL INSTABILITY
During the war humanitarian aid agencies flooded into Bosnia and Hercegovina, and reconstruction started after the Dayton Agreement. Somewhere in between peace groups and ever more international organisation were started up, orienting themselves to the newly opened market and varying in their qualifications for the new tasks ahead. Democratisation Offices of international GOs were set up to support the way to civil society in BiH. Local authorities suddenly realised that some of the NGOs who were good enough to hand out aid while it was badly needed, had ideas in mind that do not coincide with their own vision of future Bosnian society. The NGO scene is at the moment protected by large GOs, but local governments are starting to carefully check what kind of work is actually being done by NGOs. Normally reconciliation work and inter entity meetings are not necessarily welcome at governmental circles. In particular Eastern RS is pursuing an absolutely hard core policy towards NGOs.
It is to be expected that NGOs will face an ever more difficult climate and less friendly tones from the Ministry in charge of approving every project to be implemented on their territory. A more severe approach could affect official permission for groups working on human rights, women rights and intercultural meetings. The General political situation is still very unstable, with high political tensions caused by the reluctance of the RS government to allow refugee return. At the same time high tension between Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) and Croat sides is present in Central Bosnia and of course West Hercegovina for the same reason.
The US American armament programme for the Federation, intending to ,reach military balance‘, is threatening for the RS, whose army and economy are in disorder. The possibility of a new war can not be out ruled with certainty. Many media comments can be heard from the Federation, saying that it is exactly what they impatiently await – to strike back in revenge for the defeats they suffered during the last war. It can be assumed that the international community will lose interest in BiH within 2-3 years. Local NGOs need to use this time well, to establish themselves in the country as a powerful trustworthy element. The Local NGO scene needs to gain independence and self sustainability quickly, and the
process must start now. Hopefully we will be able to witness an emergence of strong human rights groups that will stand up in protection of their fellow citizens (independent of their conviction, ethnicity, religion or gender). This is the only possible long term security guarantee for people to return to their homes, and the precondition for true peace building.
Many thanks to all of those who are supporting the project of KURVE
Wustrow – Centar za nenasilnu akciju, financially or through their engagement that madethis project possible and helped to secure it‘s implementation and all of those who are with us in their thoughts.
Special thanks to:
Aktionsgemeinschaft Dienst fьr den Frieden – AGDF
Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft Vereinigte Kriegsgegner – DFG VK Bielefeld
Internationale Дrzte zur Verhьtung des Atomkrieges – IPPNW Deutschland
Menschenrechtsreferat des Diakonischen Werkes
Peace Brigades International – PBI Deutscher Zweig
Quaker Peace and Service
Stiftung Leben und Umwelt
for Centar za nenasilnu akciju and KURVE Wustrow
CNA will very much welcome feedback, suggestions, questions and criticism
concerning this report and our general work.
Your thinking along, helps us!
This report may be distributed freely with the aknowledgement of the source.