Ten years ago, the beginning of the war in Bosnia Herzegovina.We are going back to Sarajevo from April 4th to April 7th 2002.
For peace, cohabitation, and the development of the Balkans.
For its integration in the European Union
On April 6, 1992, a war began in Sarajevo and in Bosnia Herzegovina that provoked - with "ethnic cleansing" and the socioeconomic devastation of the territories - tens of thousands of victims and millions of refugees.
After almost one year the war in former Yugoslavia began, which involved Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia.
Sarajevo remained under siege for more than 1000 days.
During the three and a half years of war, starting on April 6, 1992, thousands of Italian and European volunteers and activists went to the areas of conflict to bring humanitarian aid, to construct peaceful actions and diplomacy from below, and to sustain the local multiethnic and anti nationalistic forces.
In this way, an Italian and European civil society committed to peace, solidarity, and cohabitation emerged, and the idea of a Europe from below founded on the values of cooperation, reciprocal understanding, and integration matured to overcome the social, economic and cultural walls that divide Europe. Recently, the Mayor of Sarajevo stated that, "After the fall of the Berlin wall, Europe is now building new walls toward the East."
Volunteers and workers for peace who committed themselves in Sarajevo and in Bosnia after April 6, 1992, are still active today in order to dismantle these new walls.
In the Balkans, peace is still not built, nationalism is not fully defeated, cohabitation is not truly initiated, many refugees have not returned to their homes, the economies are still devastated, and interethnic tensions are not dissolved.
This is why we should not abandon the Balkans to its destiny and think that the risk of returning to violence and war is truly extinct.
The road to be taken is one of pressure on local, national, and European institutions and of a concrete initiative for the affirmation of democracy and local development, of reconciliation and citizenship, of European integration.
This is the moment to reestablish the commitment to peace, cooperation and the integration of the Balkans into a Europe of citizenship.
From the 4th to the 7th of April 2002, we will go back- ten years after the start of the war- to Bosnia and to Sarajevo.
We will go back together with many representatives of the volunteer effort, of associations, and of the local municipalities to reestablish the proposal of the integration of the Balkans in the European Union, and the challenge of a "Europe from below" to create a Euro-Balkan network of associations, social organizations, NGO's, and local municipalities, which together will construct a different idea of Europe founded on citizenship, social inclusion, human rights, and peace.
Signature by the 12th February 2002
Vittorio Agnoletto - Scientific Resposible Lila CEDIUS
Tom Benetollo - President of Arci
don Albino Bizzotto - Beati i Costruttori di Pace
Luigi Bobba - President of ACLI
don Luigi Ciotti - Gruppo Abele
Nicoletta Dentico - Director of Medici Senza Frontiere
Leonardo Domenici - President of ANCI
Flavio Lotti - Co-ordinator of Tavola della Pace
Giulio Marcon - President of Italian Consortium of Solidarity
Sergio Marelli - President of Association of the Italian NGOs
Gianfranco Martini - President of Association of Local Democracy Agency
Michele Nardelli - Observatory on the Balkans
Edo Patriarca - Speacker of Third Sector Forum
Ermete Realacci - President of Legambiente
Gianni Rocco - Speacker of Peace Association
Soana Tortora - President of IPSIA
Graziano Zoni - President of Emmaus Italy