Center for Peace, Nonviolence, and Human Rights

Linked with Spasenija Moro – Croatia.

According to Marina Skrabalo, an Open Society Institute International Policy Fellow and External Evaluator: “For five years, the Center for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights in Osijek, Croatia, has worked effectively to support capacity development in eight communities in Eastern and Western Slavonia through a project called “Building a Democratic Society Based on the Culture of Nonviolence.” The project promotes partnerships among a wide array of local state and non-state actors, mobilizes local peace constituents, and integrates “participatory action research” into each stage of its work from needs assessment to evaluation. The project is unique in the post-Yugoslav context as one of the most ambitiously envisioned community-based peacebuilding endeavours, undertaken by an indigenous peace organization and enriched by international, national, and local partnerships.

“The Center for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights was conceived in 1991 in a basement during the shelling of Osijek when the people seeking shelter there began to discuss peacemaking civic action. The Center has grown into a network with more than 150 members, 30 full-time activists, a budget of more than $2 million, and three basic programs-education, human rights, and peacebuilding. In 1998, it partnered with the Life and Peace Institute from Sweden to obtain funds from the European Union and other private funders for the “Building a Democratic Society Based on the Culture of Nonviolence” project.

“The project followed on the efforts of the Erdut Peace negotiations on the status of Eastern Slavonia (autumn 1995) and the United Nations Transitional Administration in Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES, January 1996 – January 1998). With a budget of $1 million, the project’s first phase (1998-2000) had the overall goal of “contributing to a new, nonviolent security structure in Eastern Croatia through the promotion of people’s skills and inner capacities to restore broken relationships and build a democratic society.” …

“The second phase of the program began in September 2001 … (full text on Source.watch.org).

Principles – Members of the Center must accept a set of seven principles which define its philosophy and approach to conflict resolution:

  • The organisation is non-governmental, non-partisan and non-profit;
  • The aim of the association is to protect human rights and freedom and to promote and apply creative, nonviolent methods of conflict resolution;
  • Human rights and freedom are an expression of basic human needs;
  • Peace is a dynamic process;
  • Work on behalf of human rights, freedom and peace; takes the form of educational and advisory programmes affirming and effecting peaceful and creative means;
  • The Center’s work focuses on long-term results and helps people to become more self-aware in order to create understanding and work toward reconciliation. Reconciliation is the beginning of spiritual renewal and is a prerequisite for building relationships which will preclude violence;
  • The work of the Center is public and open to all people of good will, regardless of ethnic background, national affiliation, religion or ideology.

(full text on gppac.net).
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