We marked International Human Rights Day with the premiere screening of the movie “Movement 1325 – Women, Peace, and Security”, with participants from the “Movement 1325” program, heroines of Bosnia and Herzegovina, regional activists for women’s rights, and friends of our association.
In her opening speech, the director and member of the “Forgotten Children of War” Association, Ajna Jusić, emphasized that conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) survivors are now, almost thirty years after the end of the war, experts. As such we must include them in the processes of decision-making and peacebuilding in the region. “Today we have 20.000, 50.000 experts”.
The program “Movement 1325”, screened in the movie, integrates this claim. It was designed to encourage young women in Bosnia and Herzegovina to social and political participation, and peacebuilding in the region. Support, advice, and leadership skills were passed on to them by Bosnia and Herzegovina’s heroines – CRSV survivors, as well as the pioneers of the feminist movement in the former Yugoslavia. We believe that only through transgenerational exchange, mutual understanding of women’s experiences, as well as their regional cooperation can we nurture the culture of memory and build peace.
After the video projection, we held a panel discussion where the participants talked about their experiences with the program and the importance of women’s gatherings.
- Belma Kobaš, a participant in the “Movement 1325” program
- Adila Suljević, Bosnian heroine
- Marijana Senjak, psychologist and psychotherapist
The conversation was moderated by Ajna Jusić.
Marijana Senjak emphasized that human rights are not guaranteed and that the processes of the 90’s led to restrictions, which is why we are fighting again.
She highlighted two guidelines for the political future of Bosnia and Herzegovina:
- Ensuring autonomous women’s spaces
- Victims become actors.
“Those who have suffered the most, they are the bringers of change. It is an advocacy path.”
We agreed on the importance of acquainting young people with the facts, so no one could poison them with hatred and so that they would engage for a more stable and inclusive future of our country. To what extent is this being systematically communicated to them?
Belma Kobaš, a participant in the “Movement 1325” program and protagonist of the video, recalled the challenges of young women in Bosnia and Herzegovina:
- Lack of political participation
- Lack of opportunities for advancement
- Lack of education, discrimination.
With the “Movement 1325” program, we create a safe space for young women to share the challenges they face when wanting to work on societal improvement. Following their needs, we provide them with support, advice, and useful tools for social and political action.
Transgenerational exchange is a key tool in empowering young women because women’s history has not been written and efforts are being made to forget it. Connecting young women with heroines and initiators of feminist movements is the biggest guarantee that they will get the necessary and adequate knowledge about the CRSV and the anti-war movements led by women, while men led the wars.
“Let them be proud and strong. We want to bequeath them the truth about us, that we lived, that they don’t forget us, and that this doesn’t happen again.” – Adila, Bosnian heroine
We also heard about the importance of implementing UN Resolution 1325 in Bosnia and Herzegovina from a senior expert at the Gender Equality Agency, Branislava Crnčević Čulić.
The leader of the program “Movement 1325”, psychologist, youth worker, and the participant’s mentor, Azra Frlj, reminded us of the importance of such programs, to ensure peace and security in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Azra emphasized the importance of mutual connection, especially for the collective memory, which depends on our content.
The “Movement 1325” program was implemented with the support and cooperation of the German Embassy in Sarajevo.
Photo: Almira Mehić