Stop the War against Bosnia-Herzegovina Now!
The fall of the Eastern Bosnian 'enclave' of Srebrenica on July 13, and the impending fall of Zepa, both undefended by the United Nations which had disarmed Bosnian government troops against a pledge to protect the civilian population, does not come as a surprise. It is the logical outcome of the policy of leading European and North American powers - a policy of pre-emptive surrender - which has deliberately refused to distinguish between aggressors and the victims of aggression.
The outcome of the 21 July London Conference - accurately described by Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajctzic as a 'green light' for continued Serb aggression - constitutes yet another chapter in the 'international community's' refusal to respond effectively to the threat against the entire population of Bosnia Herzegovina.
It is the failure of Western policy which has reduced the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina to a dwindling number of besieged enclaves which are now declared incapable of being defended. Governments which proclaim their willingness to organise a 'tactical' defense of Gorazde stand passively by while inadequately armed Bosnian troops fight on at Zepa after refusing to deliver the male population into the hands of their executioners. Daily attacks continue on Sarajevo and Bihac, the Tuzla airport remains closed, and up to 15,000 residents of Srebrenica, ÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌ¸captured by the forces of General Mladic, remain unaccounted for.
The sinister farce being enacted under the auspices of the United Nations, the 'Contact Group' and other onclaves of governments must come to a stop.
The war against Bosnia-Herzegovina is not an 'ethnic' nor a religious war. It is a political war waged by a regime combining the fascist ideology and practice of 'ethnic cleansing' with Stalinist authoritarianism against a State and a society committed to the fundamental values of democracy, multiculturalism and tolerance. The failure of European and North American govrnments to rise to the defence of the state and people of Bosnia-Herzegovina undermines the struggle for democracy in all eastern and central Europe and ultimately constitutes a threat to the survival of democracy in all of Europe.
The international labour movement must approch this conflict not in a spirit of deference to government institutions that have proven unable to act in the defence of the most elementary human rights, but by recalling its own best traditions of resistance to Fascism and Stalinism in defence of peace with justice and freedom and the right of every people to life, free from oppression.
No political solution is possible unless and until the military intervention of the terrorist gangs of General Mladic, Karadzic and Milosevic is repelled by military means. The army and the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina must be provided the means for self defence. The mandate of the military forces presently in Bosnia-Herzegovina under the auspices of the United Nations must be redefined so as to protect, as a priority, not the tattered credibility of a collapsing 'peace-keeping' mission, but the integrity of the state and the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The IUF calls on its affiliates and the labour movement as a whole to take a lead in mobilizing pub lic opinion to demand that their governments take action now to halt the war against Bosnia-Herzegovina and to ensure the effective defence of the civilian population throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina, including Zepa and Bihac. Supply lines must be reopened to Tuzla and Sarajevo and action taken to put an end to the sieges. And Radovan Karadzic, General Mladic, and the government of Serbia which continues to provide support for the attack on Srebrenica and other cities, must be held immediately accountable for the fate of the dead and missing.
The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF) is an international trade union federation composed of 312 trade unions in 110 countries representing a combined membership of over 2.6 million members. Its address is Rampe du pont-rouge 8, CH-1213 Petit-lancy, (Geneve), Suisse; tel. (022) 793 2233; fax (022) 793 2238.