I’ve got a task to write an essay regarding reconciliation process in Western Balkan. I was a participant of a seminar that had reconciliation as its main topic. My field of interests are human rights, and human rights are one of major issues in this process of reconciliation. Now, I’ve been told to write in specific way, to include citations and strong decisive language in order to persuade you to believe in this process. Now, that wasn’t done because someone wanted to influence me, that was done so that this idea of reconciliation can start its life and spread. However, while thinking about it i came to a conclusion that no such thing is necessary when you are writing about human rights. After all, human rights are human, its something that belongs to all of us. So I started to strongly believe that this problem should be presented in more humain, down to earth, manner and not in in a scientific way. Why? Well, we don’t need scientists to reconciliate, all of this professional people already work together all over the world, we need ordinary people to understand, to move toward safe and equal environment. Further more, ordinary people are those who have to live together and work together. Before I start, please ask your self this questions: What are human rights? What is their purpose? Are there any limitations to them? Are some of human rights more important then others? Is there a connection between some of human rights?
Human rights are very important because their purpose is to provide safety, equality and many other necessary standards to citizens of any country. When first introduced, their purpose was to limit the actions of government and reduce the oppression toward civilians. Without them, one can be tortured, killed, discriminated, exiled and so on. Basic principle is that we are all entitled to some basic rights that allow us not to suffer because any individual. It gives us fair start in this world. Today’s life is not imaginable without this set of rules. Imagine that someone can limit your freedom without a reason? Imagine that police can torture any suspect in order to get informations, and that for some reason you are a suspect? Imagine that, even though you are innocent, you get tortured by police or some other entity. I did a small research about torture techniques and i suggest that you do the same thing, and then imagine that happening to you, for no reason. So, this is the main reason why human rights exists.
Now when we have some basic things set, lets look up conflicts on Balkan. I will talk only about modern history, starting from breaking of Yugoslavia. But problems in this region start long before that period. And why is it for so long? I would dare to say that it is because of badly done processes of bring nations to peace. Reconciliation process was never done. During Yugoslavia everyone was forced not to talk about problems and to move on. That was something that Leaders of republics used to separate Yugoslavia. How did they do it? Naturally, we humans are not so capable of harming each other unless we think of our enemies as non human beings. Evidences for this lie in our whole history, many soldiers refused to kill others. I suggest that you find a text about French soldiers during Napoleon who just stuffed their weapons with bullets and gunpowder but never fired. This is well known phenomenon and lots of military trainings procedures include special part that allows soldiers to overcome this problem. In a civil war you have much more civilians so they cant just overcome this. What was done is usage of media, that created a picture of enemy as animals, savages that deserve nothing else but to be killed. Who would give any of human rights to a beast? Imagine a serial killer, no ordinary civilian would even today accept that person as human, and as subject of any right. After media campaign and lack of true informations it was more or less easy to organise a conflict. Conflict it self was… I believe that such words do not exists, but please have a small research about civil war and period from 1990 till 2006 on Balkan. For me as a writer of this text and you as a reader it is important that many of basic human rights were broken. Completely disregarded. Over 90 000 people died in Bosnia and Herzegovina alone. Majority of this people were civilians, or civilians that were forced one way or another to fight. Beside killings, many other forms of human rights breaking were going on during this time. Police hours for some ethnic groups as example. Many civilians had to leave their homes for ever, many still live in places that can not be called homes. All of this info is also widely available on internet and i see no point in further explanation.
Today, things are much different, even though all countries still struggle to provide some rights and to protect other, basic human rights are ensured. Conflict moved on from committing war crimes to peaceful negotiations. Most promising is the fact that border crossing between Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina is possible with ID card. And my personal experience is that the border can be crossed in few minutes, without any check up. That just shows how peace went far regarding armed conflict. What remains to be done is to ensure more rights especially to minorities. Some of this rights have to be bigger then usual, jsut to achive some sort of small justice. All of the property that was lost because of the war has to be rebuild and returned. This way we would get „repaired right“ of property. Now, that sounds a bit scientific to me, let me explain why this is important: Would you be angry if i burned your house and forced you to live in a shelter for years to come? What is done is done, and some things like lives that are lost can never be restored. That is the price of an armed conflict. But, i believe that you would be much more willing to shake hands with me and talk about peace and future joint plans if your house was back in its original state. And I wouldn’t talk about this if it wasn’t possible. I believe that even people around the world would help to get this goal accomplished. Example with the house is just one of many rights. Apology is also necessary, naming the victims and giving them honor and respect is also important. Finding victims is also an issue, many are still missing. Repairing everything that is possible to be repaired is one huge step forward.
After this explanations it is time to discus connection between human rights and the process of reconciliation it self. This two are mutually beneficial. As i explained how healing human rights heals people, you could see how this would contribute to shrinking hatred between people. Now, once hatred is reduced those who hated would be much less interested into harming others. Eventually the whole community would feel safer and safer until this problems become thing of the past. And as yes, both of this processes have to go together, or I would say that they are the same process done in different ways. And both ways are important.
Before I let you think, I would like to conclude this article. Peace and safety is something we all want for our self, but we should think about the fact that others need this as well. And there is no peace and safety in a conflict and hatred. Just hating someone is bothering. International cooperation is now present all over the world, and it is especially important between neighbouring countries. Good cooperation allows freedom of movement, more ideas on common and similar problems. Better economy and so on. Western Balkan was troubled with these problems for too long and needs a major change. I say that Human Rights are the way to go. I can only hope that you will share my opinion and try to do at least something, because even one small step is a step!