October 7, 2000:

Nomination of Women in Black Belgrade

for the

Millennium Peace Prize for Women



The Women’s International Network on Gender and Human Security is proud to nominate Women in Black Belgrade for the Millennium Peace Prize for Women. Women in Black Belgrade is a Yugoslavian manifestation of the larger Women in Black network, women who from their first initiative in Jerusalem in 1988 have literally stood courageously for peace in the very face of war, armed conflict, oppression and injustice.

Feminist and staunchly anti-militarist, Women in Black Belgrade have openly opposed the aggressively nationalist policies of their own government, and all the violence, no matter what the source that has arisen from the cycle of armed conflict that arose in response to it. From the outset of the conflicts in former Yugoslavia in 1991, Women in Black Belgrade have publicly denounced, at significant risk and great personal cost, the policies that have victimized the civil populations of the Balkans and brought sharply to the attention of the world, the unchanged barbarity of warfare, including the atrocities against and bombardment of civilians, systematized rape and sexual enslavement of women as tactics of war.

Throughout the conflicts among the various regions of former Yugoslavia, Women in Black Belgrade have not only protested, but taken action to seek justice for victims of human rights abuses, especially those women serving the needs of traumatized, injured and refugee women, physicians, lawyers, journalists, etc. harassed and jailed for their heroic humanitarian work.

They kept open lines of communication among women in all areas of Yugoslavia manifesting care and concern for sisters on "the other side", and kept sisters and supporters in other parts of the world apprized of the realities on the ground not well reported in the gender and violence blind mainstream media. They have educated us in what warfare actually is today in areas assumed to have been within the orbit of ordered international society. The analyses some of their members and other Yugoslav feminists have put forth of the politics of nationalism and war have shed light on those patriarchal elements of the state system which serve to perpetuate war and violence against women.

They have contributed in every area of the contemporary women’s peace movement, publically opposing militarism and aggression in Bosnia and Kosovo on the part their own country, speaking truth to power about the actions of the major "peacekeepers" such as those who orchestrated the NATO bombing, nurturing a proposing alternatives to violence in education for conflict resolution, informing all those they could reach about the consequences of these policies, providing cogent and constructive analysis and looking to the possibilities for the integration of their nation into a peaceful and just European community.

In doing all this in the name of peace and democracy Women in Black Belgrade have made a significant contribution to the recent dramatic change in Serbia. They are a model of most of the best of what "women building peace" are doing, Yet as noted by International Alert their work as all such women’s peace work is neither adequately acknowledged nor exploited in the realms of state politics to which they have so much to contribute.

Awarding the prize to Women in Black Belgrade would be a recognition of the contributions of all the courageous and tenacious women peace activists in former Yugoslavia and the wider network of Women in Black and those in the tradition of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo who have inspired other women to risk for peace and justice in the brave stands they have taken to demand responsibility, accountability and consideration of alternatives to violence from the powers that control and hold hostage to their own will to power the peace, security and justice that rightfully belongs to all people.

Further, it would call attention to the contributions they have made to the momentous political developments in Yugoslavia which like all democratic revolutions could not have occurred without the involvement of women, that so seldom appears in the histories of such events.

Additional documentation and messages of support will be sent separately

Please also consult Women in Black web site, http://wib.matriz.net

October 7, 2000

Submitted by Betty A. Reardon. bar19@columbia.edu
on behalf of

the Women’s International Network on Gender and Human Security. WINGHS links 30 women in all parts of the world seeking to bring a gender perspective to practical work to reduce violence against women and demilitarize security

Slavica Stojanovic,
Fund for an Open Society, sstojanovic@sfj.openne.,org

Cora Weiss, Hague Appeal for Peace, e-mail: srfnyusa@igc.org Yoland Roullier, Women in Black, e-mail: roal@nodo50.org

Other referees can be provided on request

Women in Black Against War



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