CARE International Balkans condemns rise of violence across Western Balkans
CARE International Balkans strongly condemns recent violent incidents that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Violence breeds violence and acts of aggression and hate speech during a youth-cantered sporting event in Sarajevo are a direct consequence of aggressive ethno-nationalism and discriminatory rhetoric present in our public. Unfortunately, it is a step backwards and a stark reminder of our challenging past and unresolved issues of violence and hatred in our society.
CARE is deeply saddened by the reprehensible event in Sarajevo last weekend. The incident, which occurred during a sport event meant to bring young people together, has left a wrong trace in an already fragile BiH environment and influenced people’s mistrust. We call for public tension reduction and from authorities to act impartially, to show peaceful and constructive responses, just as we expect the perpetrators to be prosecuted and adequately punished.
For more than two decades, CARE has been committed to fighting the acts and promotion of hatred and violence. However, this event serves as a reminder that these behaviors are learned from a young age and must be addressed as early as possible – following individual person’s development.
Current educational systems in the region are not able to sufficiently influence the creation of a tolerant and inclusive society, and are not effective enough when, in contrast to them, there is a widely represented public narrative that incites hatred and violence. CARE through its long-lasting work with young people insists on changing social norms and behavior, with special focus on working with young men and boys, youth at risk and educational staff on capacity building for non-violence, healthy lifestyles and gender equality.
This tragic event highlights the need for continued and early intervention in addressing issues of violence and inequality – not just in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but in Balkan region as a whole. We firmly believe that through developing critical thinking, empathy, nurturing interpersonal communication, acquiring problem-solving and decision-making skills, young people will adopt the necessary competencies to more effectively confront the social influences that exist in their environment.
We believe that only through effective education and positive role modelling, we can pave the way towards a future where such incidents are a thing of the past – and where all people are treated with dignity and respect.