|How to act||
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Europe, Sarajevo
Declaration for a free and unified Sarajevo
The “Declaration for a free and unified Sarajevo” was a powerful manifesto signed by 200.000 citizens of Sarajevo expressing their desire to defend a common way of life based on democracy and tolerance. A comprehensive international solidarity campaign, which took place in over sixty countries around the world, was also organized in support of the Declaration.
The Declaration and the campaign were launched in September 1994, coordinated by the “Circle 99” association of intellectuals and a “Board for the Promotion and Signing of the Declaration” including representatives of the Sarajevo City Assembly, the University, different academic, civic and cultural organizations, and a group of the former mayors of Sarajevo. Numerous petition points were set up in different parts of the city; volunteers also went house to house, street by street, to collect the signatures. The organizers mobilized their international contacts to disseminate and publicize the Declaration, and between autumn 1994 and summer 1995, over 700.000 signatures were collected worldwide.
The trigger for this initiative was the fear of a partition of the city, an idea which had regularly appeared in wartime “peace negotiations”. The “Declaration for a free and unified Sarajevo” strongly rejected this idea: “We incite the citizens of Sarajevo and the entire world community to join us in a new struggle, a second battle for Sarajevo, a defensive battle against the spiritual and moral degradation and ethnic animosity that would accompany such a partition. We are determined to preserve the cultural life of diversity and tolerance that our ancestors constructed and that we, ourselves have nurtured and respected. (…)” (extracts from the preamble)