Serbia: Open letter to the Serbian Parliament

Women in Black Belgrade/Zene u crnom Beograd
An open letter by Women in Black Belgrade to the Serbian Parliament related to the 2005 draft resolution ‘Women, Peace, and Security,’ on the participation of women in peace-building and deciding issues of peace from a feminist standpoint.
Antimilitarism and non-violence are our spiritual orientation and our political choice. We reject military power and the production of arms for the killing of people, of human working nature, and for the domination of one sex, nation, or state over another.
The President of the National Parliament of the Republic of Serbia
The Vice-President of the Parliament
All Members of the National Parliament of the Republic of Serbia

Dear Sirs and Madams,

A year has passed since October 31, 2005, the date we delivered our draft resolution ‘Women, Peace, and Security,’ which is related to the issue of participation of women in peace-building and deciding issues of peace from a feminist standpoint. Even though many MPs supported our draft resolution and on November 9, the International Day of Action against Fascism and Racism, parliamentary procedures for the adoption of the resolution were initiated, The National Parliament still has not adopted any resolution related to UN Security Council 1325 through which the Republic of Serbia would formally fulfill its obligation as a UN member state.

All UN member states, and today Serbia is a member of that union of independent states, are obligated to implement the demands of Resolution 1325 which are related to the participation of women and the inclusion of a gender perspective in peace processes, the protection of women in areas of crisis and war from violence, and the inclusion of a gender perspective in the responding processes used in peace treaties. Additionally, this resolution requires member states to criminal prosecute those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, including crimes of sexual violence against women. The belief of the parliamentary majority (the same group which obstructs all attempts to confront the past) is that Serbia today has more important business than fulfilling obligations that result from its membership in the UN – this is an expression of extreme irresponsibility in the view of the most basic state interests:

How can it be expected that international organization and UN members to respect even most justified interests of Serbia if this is a Serbian state which does not fulfill its obligations which are based on the basic ideas of democracy?

The new constitution will be futile if the state in which the constitution is enacted ignores even the formal dimension of the need to adhere to basic values of democracy and to fulfill the obligations which result from its membership in the international community.

Therefore, we are once again delivering the resolution to you, proposing that the National Parliament adopts in this session in which it will adopt the new constitution and its accompanying laws. Instead of responsibility, this occasion illustrates ignorance. Your assembly of parliament will compete for the title of the worst and most irresponsible democratically elected parliament in the history of Serbian parliamentarianism.

Therefore, we invite you to fulfill your obligation to the citizens of Serbia, to the international community, and to your own conscience.

We will deliver our demand to the Parliament of Serbia on October 31, 2006, the six anniversary of the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, ‘Women, Peace, and Security.’

Women in Black – Belgrade
Belgrade, October 30, 2006

This demand is joined by:

The Women in Black Network—Serbia (Babušnica, Bečej, Bor, Boljevac, Dimitrovgrad, Kikinda, Kragjevac, Kraljevo, Kruševac, Leskovac, Niš, Novi Pazar, Novi Sad, Pančevo, Pirot, Priboj, Prijepolje, Tutin, Vlasotince, Vrbas, Zaječar, and Zrenjanin).