Sven Milekić

Current living place:
Zagreb, Croatia

Sven Milekić

Journalist at Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN

  • My organization:
    The Youth Initiative for Human Rights is a regional network of non-governmental organizations which work on human rights. The focus of the activities, implemented by young people is the democratization of society and dealing with the past process as well as the establishment of new connections in the post-conflict region of former Yugoslavia.

  • Examples of concrete activities I have organized/am organizing in the field of “dealing with the past”:
    • The Croatian Youth Initiative for Human Rights is an active member of REKOM (Coalition for the establishment of a Regional Commission for the establishment of facts about the war crimes and other grave human rights violations on the territory of former SFRY from 1991 to 2001). The Initiative coordinated the gathering of signatures for the support of REKOM in Croatia and regionally coordinated this action together with the Initiative in Serbia.
    • The YIHR in Croatia in cooperation with YIHR in Serbia have organized meetings, joint action and public school hour for young activists from Zagreb, Vukovar and Belgrade in Vukovar
    • The YIHR organized introductory and advanced trainings on transitional justice, as an introduction to the Transitional Justice Program

  • Concrete challenges I am facing in my “dealing with the past”-related work:

    The challenges are different, from the non-existent understanding of the local communities and State authorities to being called “traitors” or „foreign mercenaries“. There is a big problem by the fact that authorities support the mechanisms of transitional justice only declaratively while in many ways they are obstructing them. In Croatia lately, there is grow in nationalism, which makes the process of dealing with the past more difficult and increases the resistance not only the social but the institutional as well. Finally, since the closing of the negotiating chapters with the EU, the pressure of the European Commission and certain European governments is much lower with regard to dealing with the past.

  • My personal link to/interest for the topic of “dealing with difficult pasts”:
    The fact that I spent some time as a volunteer in the gathering of signatures of citizens for the forming of REKOM and in this way got insight into the attitude of citizens about dealing with the past as well as my family origin which brought me on this path. During the Second World War, one part of my family suffered as victims of the Ustaša regime and my mother survived Auschwitz.