"Thank you for every second you spend dealing with this case. You have
no idea how it feels looking at your children, crying and writing
letters to their father. Letters which I am afraid to send him, as they
are full of sorrow and pain. These pictures [of the workshop] are
really beautiful and they show that together we can do a lot." Nadja
Dizdarevic, wife of Guantánamo detainee Boudella al-Hajj, after the
Young, energetic, and campaigning for human rights in the Balkans.
Men and women who recently attended an activism workshop organized by
Amnesty International in Ljubljana, Slovenia, had these three
characteristics in common.
The objective of the meeting was to encourage and support activism in the Balkans against human rights abuses committed in the name of counter-terrorism. Some twenty attendees came from Albania; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Croatia; Macedonia; Serbia, including Kosovo; and Slovenia.
The activists were particularly inspired to campaign against detentions
in Guantánamo – part of Amnesty International's global campaign against
abuses in the US-led "war on terror".
They were also motivated by violations carried out closer to home.
Balkan governments have been directly and indirectly involved in the
transfer of terrorist suspects to secret detention centres as well as
rendition flights. These cases include six Bosnian Algerians who were
illegally transferred, despite a court ruling, to the US detention
facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
Nadja Dizdarevic, wife of Guantánamo detainee Boudella al-Hajj, also
attended the workshop and spoke about her experience campaigning for
the rights of Guantánamo detainees.
These young activists now form part of the world wide movement to
Close Guantanamo. Since the workshop they have begun to organize
Guantánamo campaigning activities in their own countries. Amnesty
International will be working with them in the future to organize
coordinated activities in the region and in the world.