Coalition members (PCRC, Youth Initiative for Human Rights BiH, and Youth Initiative for Human Rights Serbia) coordinated activities for the commemoration of the Tuzla Massacre on its 27th anniversary. CGMAP organizations successfully exchanged information, participated in shared activities, and jointly represented the Coalition to mark 25 May 1995 – the day when the Army of Republika Srpska launched an artillery attack against the town of Tuzla, in eastern Bosnia, which killed 71 and wounded 240 people.
Coalition members (PCRC and Youth Resource Center) participated in ‘Restoring a Culture of Peace,’ an event organized as part of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia’s Legacy Dialogues Conference. The panelists and audience explored the social, economic, and political challenges to building a sustainable peace in the region while exploring how conventional and unconventional transitional justice mechanisms can help build just societies with healthy democratic systems. Since coalition members also presented information about the CGMAP, this event was the official launch of the Coalition in Bosnia.
Coalition members (PCRC and Balkan Investigative Network – BIRN BiH) participated in WARM Festival’s Justice Symposium, ‘Conventional and Unconventional Approaches to Transitional Justice.’ Panelists discussed transitional justice and the ways in which PCRC’s collaborative photo exhibition, ‘Transitions’, shed light on the state of transitional justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina and around the world. The symposium and exhibition opening was attended by over 100 people, which included representatives of the media, CSO’s, youths and the general public.
The Sarajevo Film Festival’s ‘Dealing with the Past’ project is dedicated to promoting dialogue and peace through raising awareness of the far-reaching and unresolved consequences of the 1990’s Yugoslav wars, and seeks to connect parties involved in the disseminating indisputable facts about them. The project is supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung Foundation, and presented in partnership with both Al Jazeera Balkans and the United States Embassy to Bosnia and Herzegovina. PCRC served as a local project partner through CGMAP, connecting several Coalition Members to the festival organizers so they could present their stories and projects at the ‘Dealing with the Past’ True Stories Market. It is a unique event that connects filmmakers with organizations that are researching and documenting the Yugoslav wars, with the aim of sharing these stories with a wide audience. Each year, Sarajevo Film Festival is visited by over 100,000 filmmakers, artists and general public from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Europe, and the world.
Coalition members (PCRC, Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo, and the Center’s Documentation Center on War Crimes) worked together on a project to present a common narrative of the Kosovo conflict based on facts established by the court.
Coalition members (mentored by DOCUMENTA: Center for Dealing with the Past) worked on a collaborative project in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, North Macedonia and Serbia. The project aimed to assess the relationship between the stability of political systems and inclinations towards political radicalization and terrorism in the respective countries. Coalition members explored the idea that a lack of confidence in institutions increases the likelihood of people seeking radical solutions, increasing their receptivity to propaganda or even recruitment by extremist groups.
In August 2018, coalition members (PCRC and PRONI Center for Youth Development) organized joint activities during the peace camp ‘Make Peace Beautiful’ in Brcko District, Bosnia and Herzegovina. During this event, supported by the US Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, organizations facilitated peace education activities for 70 young people from 16 municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
On December 15th, PCRC worked with Dr. Stephanie Arel, an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the September 11 Memorial and Museum, to organize an experiential workshop for those engaged in processes of post-conflict resolution and recovery after communal and individual trauma. The goals of the experiential workshop were fostering deeper connections between those invested in similar work, exploring methods of self-care, and understanding the mechanisms behind the empathy demanded by such work. Workshop participants included two coalition members, BIRN BiH and SARA-Srebrenica. This was the first workshop of its kind in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Two years on, we continue to build skills for responding to emotionally charged or distressing material, and to establish a regional network with useful resources for people doing this difficult work.
Coalition members (PCRC and BIRN BiH) implemented the ‘Real Voice of Journalism,’ a project aimed at improving the overall position of journalists and media activists and preventing further violations of the freedom of expression in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through the project, country-wide research was conducted on the challenges, obstacles and pressures that journalists face daily, with an emphasis on local media houses and outlets. The result was a comprehensive report which serves as a resource for media-freedom practitioners around the region. It has received great interest from the media in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as from researchers and journalists across Europe. PCRC has also compiled suggestions for actions to improve the quality of journalism and protection of journalists, which has been sent to key decision makers in the region. Complete research can be found online here.
Coalition members (PCRC and the Humanitarian Law Center) are taking part in a multidisciplinary research project to survey the current ‘reconciliation’ landscape in the Western Balkans and investigate the current role, and potential future roles, of the arts in reconciliation. The project was organized in partnership with King’s College London, London School of Economics and University of the Arts London. In addition, these two coalition members participated in the ‘Art and Reconciliation Symposium’ in London in December 2018, contributed by presenting data collected from their arts-based peacebuilding initiatives and research projects.
In 2018, CGMAP established a partnership with Memria – an organization that enables the large-scale collection and analysis of audio recorded experiences and feedback. In February 2019, several coalition members participated in a panel discussion organized by Memria in Sarajevo. This panel discussion gathered stories and statements about the transitional justice processes that were implemented by mechanisms and initiatives that deal with the inheritance of crimes committed during the wars in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s.
From 13th to 15th of August, CGMAP took part in an online consultation which involved mapping how European civil society is responding to rising identity-based violence within the region, at its borders, and around the world. PCRC, on behalf of the CGMAP, also moderated a session on ‘How do we work better across Europe?’ and shared experience and lessons learned through networking with like-minded organizations in the area of preventing genocide and mass atrocities. Consultations were organized by Protection Approaches and hosted by Peace Direct through the Platform4Dialogue discussion platform.
On February 12th 2018, PCRC organized a meeting between Adama Dieng, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide, and key representatives from Bosnia and Herzegovina’s civil society organizations (CSOs) at the United Nations office in Sarajevo. During the meeting, CSOs briefed Mr. Dieng on their work and current activities, as well as the biggest challenges they face in their peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts. The meeting was attended by UN Resident Coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ms. Sezin Sinanoglu, CSO representatives, and members of CGMAP (BIRN BiH, CURE Foundation, Forum ZFD, Youth center ‘’Kvart’’, Association Transitional Justice, Accountability and Remembrance, and Civil Rights Defenders BiH). This was one of many stops the Special Advisor made in his tour across the country, which also included meetings with members of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s government, judicial institutions, and the international community.
In June 2018, coalition members (PCRC and the Humanitarian Law Center) took part in a seminar on “Fostering Reconciliation in the Western Balkans: Renewing the EU approach in Brussels,” organized by Directorate-General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) and European External Action Service (EEAS). These two coalition members were the only civil society organizations that presented at the seminar. Their recommendations on critically re-examining the European Commission’s approach to, and support for, reconciliation in the Western Balkans were later used in the Western Balkans Summit in London.
In October, CGMAP took part in the conference ”After the ICTY: Regional Cooperation, Accountability, Truth and Justice in the Former Yugoslavia,” organized under the umbrella of BIRN’s Transitional Justice Initiative. The conference addressed the following topics: regional cooperation in war crimes prosecution, missing persons, victims’ participation, and the role of archives, art, media, and museums in dealing with the past. In a panel about the war crime trial narratives, PCRC spoke together with colleagues and coalition members from Youth Initiative for Human Rights (Croatia), Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo, and BIRN (Bosnia and Herzegovina).
On May 15, PCRC, on behalf of CGMAP, took part in a civil society meeting in Brussels that explored how European civil society could further contribute to atrocity prevention issues. The meeting followed the Ninth Annual Meeting of the Global Network of Responsibility to Protect Focal Points, was conveyed by the Protection Approaches organization, and was supported by European External Action Service, Genocide Alert, and United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect.
In October, CGMAP facilitated a meeting with Bosnian civil society organizations (CSO) and Mr. Adama Dieng, Under-Secretary General and UN Special Adviser for Genocide Prevention. During the meeting, the CSO representatives were able to present their work and discuss obstacles, strategies, and their visions for the future. We are grateful to Mr. Dieng for providing his insights into issues of reconciliation, peacebuilding and hate speech in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the role CSOs play in these processes. The meeting was also attended by Kathleen Kavalec, Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and local UN officials.