Last update: Aug 5 '96
Archive / Archief
Thinking and acting in the former Yugoslavia
`Tilburg ZaMir' is the local equivalent of "Tilburg for Peace".
The objective of Tilburg ZaMir is to give material, financial and
moral support to independent peace-, women's- and human rights groups
and media in the former Yugoslavia. All its activities are directly
connected with this objective.
Since 1992 Tilburg ZaMir has built up excellent contacts with various
non governmental organisations (NGO) aiming at lasting peace and
democratic development in the former Yugoslavia. Initially the focus
was on activities in Croatia, Vojvodina, Kosovo/a and Serbia. More
recently assistance to the development of Bosnia's civil society has
emerged high up on Tilburg ZaMir's agenda.
Peace is more than the absence of war
The continuous thread connecting the activities of these anti-war and
human rights groups is their great effort for a humanitarian society
where democracy and tolerance are put first and foremost, where there
is no place for racial hatred, nationalism, rape and force of
We do not leave these groups out in the cold. We give them concrete
material and financial support. In addition support from abroad is
also experienced as a sign of international solidarity and as an
important moral help in the struggle for peace and a free pluriform
Tilburg ZaMir functions as an intermediary between NGOs in the former
Yugoslavia and similar international NGOs. Tilburg ZaMir also advises
and supports in terms of fundraising. Occasionally Tilburg ZaMir
invites representatives of the aforementioned NGOs for working visits
in the Netherlands. One of the goals is to offer them the possibility
to contact Dutch partners, organisations and media.
What do these groups do in the former Yugoslavia?
There is much diversity of action, such as:
- Demonstrations, petitions, manifestations, publications etcetera
against the policy of their nationalistic governments;
- Support of deserters and conscientious objectors;
- Humanitarian assistance in refugee camps;
- Support of victims of sexual violence;
- Physical and social reconstruction of villages ruined by violence.
In the Central Bosnian village of Gornji Vakuf, divided by the
previous frontline into a Croat and a Bosniac part, international
volunteers work at the rebuilding of homes and civil society together
with the UN;
- Application of methods for nonviolent conflict resolution;
- Extension of the ZaMir Transnational Network, a computer commu-
nication network that enables cheap and good communication between
organisations within and outside of the former Yugoslavia;
- Publication of independent magazines and extension of the network
of independent radio and television stations that promote the
development of a democratic and pluriform society;
- SOS-phonelines to report women's rights violations and human
rights violations in general;
- Rendering legal aid in cases of persecution and discrimination;
- Reporting on war crimes and human rights violations, for instance
on behalf of the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague;
Transports and working visits
>From Tilburg transports of office appliances, paper, computer- and
communication apparatus, printers, xerox machines, humanitarian aid
such as medicine and money have taken place. The transports have been
combined with working visits in order to keep up with the actual
situation and with the needs of the NGOs. Tilburg ZaMir also functions
as an intermediary and transporter for other organisations in the
Netherlands concerned with the former Yugoslavia. Occasionally
reporters of Dutch media participate in a working visit.
Tilburg ZaMir is strongly orientated towards cooperation with
organisations on local, national and European level.
Within Tilburg there is close cooperation with other groups gathered
in the campaign `Tilburg helps the former Yugoslavia'.
In the Netherlands Tilburg ZaMir has contacts and cooperation with
groups such as Pax Christi, Press Now, Amnesty International, Stop the
Arms Race and Fatima Maria, and besides that with a manifold of small
Tilburg ZaMir, Press Now and Pax Christi have combined their efforts
to publish the quarterly `Now Future', a magazine reporting on civil
society and its independent media and NGOs in the former
Within the region of the former Yugoslavia a focal point of Tilburg
ZaMir's activities momentarily is the cooperation with the UN
supervised project in Gornji Vakuf for the social and physical
reconstruction of this divided Croat-Bosniac community. Tilburg ZaMir
contributes to the extension of the ZaMir Transnational Network, the
well-known electronic mail communication system so much used within
the world of NGOs in this area. In addition Tilburg ZaMir is a support
organisation of the Balkan Peace Team branches in Croatia and Serbia.