THE CENTRE FOR PEACE, NON-VIOLENCE AND HUMAN RIGHTS - OSIJEK
O. Keršovanija 4, 31000 Osijek,
Tel/fax: 031 120 592,
THE FOUNDATION OF THE CENTRE
During the time when the major war events were happening in the Osijek area, several intellectuals (doctors, teachers, lawyers and economists) founded The Centre for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights as a contribution to the maintenance of the nucleus or of civil society resistant to any kind of divisions (ethnic, religious, political or ideological) imposed by the violence of war. The foundations for the Centre for Peace
The Centre for Peace includes 60 members; men and women, most of which highly educated, students and pupils. About 150 associates are also involved in implementation of projects and actions, as well as volunteers from Austria, Netherlands, Sweden and Great Britain are permanently.
THE MAIN WORKING PRINCIPLES
The activities of the Centre for Peace are both educational and counselling programs, as well as other activities which support and promote non-violent, and creative social changes and are directed toward the realisation of human rights and freedoms, as well as peace in the broadest sense (the positive realisation of the peace in the community).
THE FORMS OF ACTIVITIES
The supreme authority is the Assembly, which elects the president and seven members of the Administrative board-decision making body - both functions executed on voluntary basis. Executive director, administrator and programme leaders are professionals. Different project teams leads by co-ordinator execute different projects. The Peace Centre Osijek acts through three main fields of interest as follows:
Since individual development within the group and development of the group itself is a necessary condition for enabling of an individual for peace work in community - first beneficiaries with the same aim (enabling persons for responsible involvement in social changes and transformation of the existing conflict) are teachers, religious believers, youth, political leaders, war affected population (displaced persons, returnees, refugees, women, children) and the whole population. Until now, more than 500 teachers directly participated in the Centre's programmes (45 became trainers in peace education), also about 4500 school pupils, about 150 teenagers, 480 parents and more than 600 displaced women. More than 1100 people from both sides have met - through organised meetings - before the UNTAES mandate. About 400 people attended workshops on reestablishment of trust after the opening of UNTAES region. About 250 families from Pakrac, Bilje, Tenja, Okučani and Vukovar were involved in the opening of communication programme - through listening project. Over 2000 clients received legal aid in the Human Rights Office. Over 80.000 residents of Osijek and the county and a larger number of residents of Pakrac and Okučani were indirectly informed - through public and media events, and distribution of educational materials (55.000 copies of 11 titles) - about human rights, efforts for peace process and peaceful return, tolerance, reestablishment of trust and development of democratic society.
COOPERATING AND NETWORKING
Since the very foundation, the Centre for Peace has been supported by a number of peace groups from Europe and many respectful European and American intellectuals. The part of the working policy of the Centre is the co-operation with the similar initiatives on a local, district, national and international level, as well as with different institutions, governmental organisations and authorities. The Centre co-operates on many projects and actions with the member organisations of the Antiwar Campaign Croatia, Coordination of Organisations for Protection of Human Rights in Croatia, and Coordination of peace Organisations for Baranja, Eastern Slavonia and Western Sirmium. Further on, the Centre co-operates with the Peace Bridge Danube /Basel/, "Die Schwelle" Foundation /Bremen/, "Life & Peace" Institute /Stockholm/, Center for Strategic Studies /Washington, DC/, Baranja International Meeting House, "Circuit" /Birmingham/, "Austrian Peace Service" and others.
Growth and development of the Centre's project activities was, financially and materially, enabled by a great number of individuals, peace groups, organisations and foundations. Here, we state some of them:
The peace Centre Osijek is a winner of "Charta Rabuziana" price assigned from the Society for Improvement of Life - Zagreb (1993), and a newly founded "Award for Nonviolence" from the Swedish branch of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (1995).
Action and work of the Peace Centre Osijek inspired Adam Curle (UK) to write a book - "THE OTHER PATH" (1995), and Mary Evelyn Jagen (USA) for the book "SIGNS OF HOPE" (1996).
The Centre received a valuable acknowledgement through words of the Bishop Ćiril Kos expressed during DAYS OF PEACE CULTURE '93 at the ecumenical prayer: "Days of Peace Culture" are an initiative which opens eyes and ears to perceive and listen like we didn't before. Regardless the influence to political situation, it brings changes into our hearts - because your are the yeast that can make many dough's rise - of this town, homeland, world and church."
"PEACE EDUCATION AND PSYCHOSOCIAL DEVELOPMENT"
The programme "Peace Education and Psychosocial development" (1992-1998) includes educational programmes on alternatives to violence, dealing with conflict, communication, human rights, democracy and community development - for teachers, children, youth, activists, women, believers and religious communities, and other social groups. Aid in psychosocial development is mainly directed to work with the war victims (children, displaced persons)
"PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS"
The programme "Promotion and Protection of Human Rights" (1992-1998) is realised through the Human Rights Office with legal advice and aid, mediation, campaigns and education for citizens on human rights, freedoms and democracy. The legal service is, through office and field work, involved in the process of peaceful integration of Baranja, Eastern Slavonia and Western Sirmium - providing legal aid in realisation of status, gained and proprietary civil rights, and in realisation of the right for return and reconstruction.
"PEACE BUILDING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT"
The programme "Peace And Community Development" (1994-1998) is aimed as a support to peace process in Baranja, E. Slavonia and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) and Western Slavonia. It builds upon programmes of peace education, psychosocial support and human rights protection.
Focus of the programme is on preparation of DPs and other inhabitants for return, on helping the process of integration for the Serbian population in reconstruction of mutual trust and common communication between polarised groups, dialogue workshops about the problems of return, staying and cohabitation, development of solidarity help in returnees communities, development of the women's role, religious communities, teachers and youth in reestablishment of trust and community reconstruction.
Activities of THE PUBLIC PROMOTION OF TOLERANCE AND DEVELOPMENT OF MULTIETHNIC AND CIVIL SOCIETY are organising of public discussions and round tables, "Intellectual Forum" and "Peace Club". Such activities are organised during "Days of Peace Culture" every two years in summer, and they have a regional and international importance.
The Peace Centre is also encouraging and supporting forming of local peace groups and their becoming independent.
Center for Direct Protection of Human Rights