On the occasion of June 19, the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Armed Conflicts, the Autonomous Women's Center participated in numerous activities aimed at raising awareness of the situation of victims of sexual violence in wars and fostering policies of remembrance, solidarity and responsibility.

At an online conference of the Humanitarian Law Center entitled "The Road from Stigma to Justice - Sexual Violence in War", held on June 15, the representative of the Autonomous Women's Center, Sanja Pavlović, moderated a panel entitled "Rape Trauma - Why Women's Testimonies Must Be Trusted" "Within the framework of various types of support for women survivors of war rape, from the perspective of speakers from Croatia / Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia.

Also, the Autonomous Women's Center joined the press release Women in Black - We Remember Women Raped in the War, as well as the street action of the same name on Republic Square organized on June 17. The action was held in silence and mourning and symbolically reminded the public of the responsibility of members of Serbian armed formations during the wars in the former Yugoslavia who systematically abused non-Serb women in Croatia, BH and Kosovo. We also reminded the public that in Serbia, women survivors of sexual violence in war remain invisible to institutions - they are not recognized as civilian victims of war, nor as victims of gender-based violence against women, who deserve special rights, support and protection.

akcija trg republike beogradStreet action on Republic Square, Belgrade, June 17, 2021

The next day, Women in Black activists, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights and the Autonomous Women's Center headed to Foča, where on June 19 we joined the Foča War Victims Association (1992-1995), who organized commemorative visits to the most serious crime sites - Karaman's House and the Partizan sports hall. Let us remind you that during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1995), Foča was the site of massive sexual violence and rape. In its verdict against the Foča Troika (Kunarac, Kovač, Vuković), in 2001, for the first time in the history of international humanitarian law, the Hague Tribunal determined that sexual slavery in war is a crime against humanity.

foca 19 jun 2021 01Foča, in front of Partizan sports hall, June 19, 2021

Upon her return to Belgrade on June 21, Sanja Pavlović also participated in the online event of the I Believe You Initiative entitled "Sexual Violence in the 1991-1999 Wars: A Policy of Resistance and Solidarity with Survivors". During the event, she presented the experiences from Foča and announced that from the fall, together with Women in Black and the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, she will organize seminars on sexual violence in war for civil society and youth, as part of a program coordinated by Medica Mondiale. "Strengthening the Voices of Women Affected by War Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in the Western Balkans - For a Culture of Recognition and Reconciliation."

foca 19 jun 2021 02Foča, in front of Karaman's House, June 19, 2021