Achievements, Difficulties and Controversies related to Peaceful Integration of the Eastern Croatia 1996 – 2015
Osijek, December 8 2015
The Dialogue Forum of the” Krunoslav Sukić” Peace Award was initiated in 2012 in response to the alarming shrinking of public space for dialogue, along with the growing trend of polarization and exclusion by ideological / worldview bases in Croatian society. We consider this a serious shortage of democracy which converts it into its distorted image (obstruction of government instead of creative criticism and democratic game). It favours the escalation of violence which is evident by the recent increasing hate speech in public space on the one hand, and apathy caused by lack of trust in politics and democracy on the other.
We seek to contribute to change by creating environments and opportunities for dialogue – the Dialogue Forum of the Krunoslav Sukić Peace Award, relying on the richness of insights, knowledge and social networks from which the Award laureates, friends and guests come.
We opted for this year’s topic – the Achievements, Difficulties and Controversies related to Peaceful Integration of the Eastern Croatia 1996 – 2015 primarily because the process of integration of people – building trust at least to a level that will enable dialogue and cooperation in the search for common ground for coexistence – has not been completed yet. Moreover, it is constantly the subject to political controversy which, in the form of conflict about the introduction of Cyrillic inscriptions, escalates to threats of violence with repeated negative assessments of peaceful integration that allegedly “left an unresolved situation, unlike the clear and clean victory which enabled the military operation Storm.”
Systematic work on social completion of the peaceful integration has not been implemented, and we are aware that this is, at least partially, also the issue of ignorance. Specifically, the UNTAES mission which is considered one of the most successful UN peacekeeping missions ever, is little known in Croatia; it is rarely discussed even in private, let alone in the public sphere; that victory of peace by peaceful means is neither marked nor celebrated at the national level. And almost no one talks about a joint venture involving politics, international and state institutions and ordinary people, although that venture was carried out by thousands and thousands of women and men (mostly direct victims of the war) who expressed willingness to accept peaceful resolution of the war conflict, gave up revenge and demonstrated courage which was necessary to take on the risk of living once again in a common environment. Those people coped with new traumas upon return / meetings and devised ways to overcome the difficulties of the early post-war period and begin to rebuild their homes and community relations. Today, it seems as if they themselves are not aware of the enterprise that they had performed.
At the Dialogue Forum, the Centre for Peace will present its archival footage on the contribution of civilians and civil society to peaceful integration – as an introduction to the question of where we are today. We invited as keynote speakers Mr. Ivan Vrkić, the Mayor of Osijek who was the representative of the Croatian Government at UNTAES mission (not confirmed) and Mr. Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary – General, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (not confirmed). At the Dialogue Forum, apart from the key actors of the peaceful reintegration, we will also invite people from different professional, social and political backgrounds who reside in this territory and who live with different political, social and economic consequences of peaceful reintegration every day. We believe that Forum will provide a valuable contribution to the atmosphere of dialogue – to transcend from rigid positions to joint dialogue about the issue how to move on from here?
The Organizing Committee:
Ana i Otto Raffai
In cooperation with:
European House Vukovar, Nansen dialogue Centar Osijek, Local Democracy Agency, Osijek
For more information:
++385 135 0008
Contact : Katarina Kruhonja