On the anniversary of the beginning of NATO bombing, we want to once again speak for those for whom the war is not over yet. Namely, the numerous imprisoned or exiled deserters and conscientious objectors from Serbia who still suffer from refusing to wage a war against civilians in Kosovo or simply refusing to be sacrificial lamb of Milosevic in the pointless war with NATO.
Ever since the ceasefire was signed between Milosevic and NATO in June last year, Milosevic's regime has maintained the permanent state of low scale warfare. The tensions are created with Montenegro, around the administrative border with Kosovo and all over the country by constant oppression of media, opposition groups and activists. An important part of this low intensity war politics was the severe persecution of deserters and conscientious objectors. Recently this was joined by renewed forced mobilizations and rumors spread about another conflict, another war.
Recently there was an epidemic in the camp in Debrecen that the authorities tried to hide as it started because of poor living conditions in the camp. The campaigners against conscription are now using this situation as another argument that compulsory military service should be abolished as it poses a threat to public health. Could we say the same for the refugee camps?
The Safe House Project works with objectors and deserters from FR Yugoslavia. It is based in Budapest.
Peace Magazine Spring 2000, page 5. Some rights reserved.
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