Letter: Dubrovnik's destruction continues

Sir: For almost a year now the population of Dubrovnik has been subjected to incredible suffering and human degradation. A large area of the municipality is still under the occupying force of the Serbian-Montenegran army.

Refugees within the city number 17,000, while in the occupied territory there are about 3,500 prisoners in Cavtat and Konavle. News from these areas can be obtained only with great difficulty. But this news is about physical and psychological abuse of which the wider world is still ignorant. Homes have been transformed into concentration camps. We, they, are at the end of the extreme tether of endurance.

Reservists from Montenegro are in power there today, and their methods are astonishingly brutal. Before now houses were robbed and destroyed; but as we write homes are being demolished within the presence of their owners, owners who are taken away by night for questioning.

Then they are usually kept as prisoners. There are confirmed reports of murder. Robbery is endemic in the streets; only wedding rings are not stolen. All boats and cars have been stolen. In the hotels only the bedsteads remain.

The area has no water; but this means nothing to the occupying army. They stubbornly refuse to pass our deliveries of water on to the citizens of Cavtat and Konavle. Croatian money is banned. People have to exist only on the humanitarian aid which arrives every week from the city of Dubrovnik.

Public movement is limited, too. People cannot gather together, and a curfew starts at 8pm. Candles must not be seen, windows must be closed. You are forbidden even to go on to your own gardens or terraces. All letters, messages and parcels are opened and censored. Many never arrive. Stealing is routine. Every attempt to open an office for UN and EC monitors has failed.

This is happening in the heart of your Europe and ours, in the age of the New World Order.

Please, after so many months, help us to restore our respectability and our human rights to live and work under conditions acceptable to the world at the end of the 20th century.

Yours sincerely,

AIDA DIRLIC

B. SIMATOVIC

KATHLEEN WILKES

Forum of Women and Mothers

Dubrovnik, Croatia

27 August

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