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Preserve peace in Sandžak!

Peace gathering and rally on October 22nd 2007, in Novi Pazar

Saturday 20 October 2007

- public announcement about a civic action -

In regards to the recent events in Sandžak, in connection with the Islamic community, NGO’s and civil society actors are expressing serious concern and condemnation of all the structures that have brought about this sequence of events. We want to hold accountable all the local authorities, as well as the Islamic community, but also the government of the Republic of Serbia, security services, and all the regime media.

It is clear that we are dealing with a staged political conflict with the goal of establishing control over institutions and the lives of the citizens of Sandžak. The continuous production of hatred, chaos, fear, insecurity, division and conflicts are springing from the same well that was previously used by the regime of Slobodan Milošević and in the current era of legalism of Vojislav Koštunica.

Peace is continually threatened, whether through inter-ethnic conflicts, or within the same ethnic and/or religious communities. The increasing abuse of religion and beliefs for political ends brings the secular character of the state also under threat. Even though the Constitution is a guarantee of the principle of separation of church and state.

The goal of this production of chaos is clear - it is the only way for certain political options to remain in power. We believed these political options disappeared from Serbia with the fall of Slobodan Milošević. They were famous for: halting democratic processes; denial of civic values; prohibiting solidarity among people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds; exclusion of women from public life and promoting a return to the middle ages.

Silence will not protect anyone,

civic solidarity is stronger than politics of darkness and destruction.

Preserve peace in Sandžak!

The politics of violence and chaos have already produced misfortune and suffering of millions of people. Among them is the crime that was committed against 16 Bosniak citizens in Sjeverin on October 22nd 1992.

Therefore, we, responsible citizens, continue to exert pressure on the Government of Serbia and the institutions it controls – to stop this continuous production of distrust, fear, hatred and enemies.

We will continue to fight for a Serbia based on civic values!

Through our civic action, we support and encourage freethinking citizens in Sandžak and throughout Serbia to end the silence, apathy and the feeling of helplessness.

Remembering the crime in Sjeverin and expressing concern that crimes could continue, we organize a peace gathering and rally on October 22nd 2007, in Novi Pazar, from 15:00 to 17:00 with the following slogan:

Preserve peace in Sandžak!

- Center for Cultural Decontamination - Belgrade
- Damad - Novi Pazar
- Humanitarian Law Center - Belgrade
- The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia - Belgrade
- Impuls - Tutin
- Youth Initiative for Human Rights - Belgrade
- The Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights – Yucom - Belgrade
- Urban-In - Novi Pazar
- Women in Black - Belgrade

Belgrade, October 16th 2007