Balkans Peace Team

The Balkans Peace Team is a project coordinated by the Bund für Soziale Verteidigung, War Resisters' International, the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, Peace Brigades International, and a coalition of French nonviolent groups. Its principle is that the citizens of each country have to develop their own way to peace and democracy. As an international third party, the Balkan Peace Team will, at the request of local people, support their efforts, aiming to extend the political space for local activists.

The first four-volunteer team has now completed its training and arrived in Zagreb to begin a one-month language course. Its name in Croatian is Otvorene Oci (Open Eyes), and it consists of two volunteers from the US, one from Britain and one (Øystein Kleven of FMK) from Norway. In May, it will decide where in Croatia to make its base and which issues to take up.

Meanwhile another group will visit Kosovo and Belgrade to determine whether or not it is possible to establish a team in Kosovo.

Each team will have several functions:

* to be a preventive or inhibiting presence in the face of threats and harassment

* generally to network, relaying information and requests as appropriate

* to seek opportunities for dialogue

Further information from Christine Schweitzer, Lützowstr 22, D-50674 Köln, Germany (tel/fax: +49 221 2401819; email c.schweitzer@bionic.zer.de); donations to Bank Account 136 at the Kressparkassa Köln, bank number (BLZ) 370 502 99.

Otvorene Oci (until 4 May), Gornji Bukovac 172, 41000 Zagreb, Croatia (email: otvorene_oci@zamir-zg.ztn.zer.de)