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Bosnian ‘War Children’ Exhibition Tackles Enduring Stigma of Conflict

9. April 2019.13:20
A new photographic exhibition in Sarajevo presents images of ‘children of war’ who were born as a result of rape or were children of foreign peacekeepers or aid workers in the 1992-95 conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

The exhibition ‘Breaking Free’, which aims to address the enduring prejudices faced by children who were born as a consequence of the Bosnian war, opened at the Historical Museum of Sarajevo on Monday evening and runs until mid-April.

It features portraits of mothers and their daughters taken by Vienna-based photographer Sakher Almonem, and was initiated by Forgotten Children of the War, a Sarajevo-based organisation which advocates for the rights and fair treatment of people who were born due to 1992-1995 war in Bosnia.

Some of them were born as a result of wartime rape, or their fathers were members of the peacekeeping forces or employees of foreign humanitarian missions.

Ajna Jusic, president of Forgotten Children of the War, who describes herself as a “child of the war”, said at the opening of the exhibition that the mothers and their children still face stigma and discrimination in Bosnian society.

“Through photography and art, we wanted to show what it means to be silent for 25 years, and what it means when, along with the mothers who survived rape, we go out and send a loud and clear message,” Jusic told media.

Ajla Sabanovic, one of the visitors to the exhibition opening, told BIRN that ‘war children’ still face discrimination.

“This topic is extremely important but public attention is not often focused on it. We have so many children who cannot answer questions such as ‘who is your father?’, and they are often discriminated against because of that,” said Sabanovic.

There is no precise data on the numbers of women who were raped in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1992-95 conflict, but estimates range from 20,000 to 50,000.

This post is also available in: Bosnian