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The WCM’s “Speaking Out” exhibition opened today as a central event of the campaign for legal recognition of children born of war. Among those present were prominent members of the international community, including UK Ambassador to BiH Julian Reilly, and representatives of the parliamentary assembly.

Speaking at the event were the WCM’s Executive Director, Amina Krvavac, Ajna Jusic on behalf of the “Forgotten Children of War” Association, Midheta Kaloper Oruli on behalf of the “Foca 92–95” War Victims Association, Special UN Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, Joeri Maas on behalf of the EU Delegation in BiH, the UN Resident Coordinator in BiH, Ingrid Macdonald, and the Head of Trial International in BiH, Selma Korjenic.

Exhibition, body maps and the Red Dress

Speaking on behalf of women survivors, Midheta Kaloper Oruli expressed their displeasure at the fact that the fundamental rights and needs of survivors and children born of war have not been properly addressed in three decades, while Ajna Jusic appealed to the officials to adopt the Law on Civilian Victims of War in the Federation of BiH, as the rights of children born of war must be above all political calculations.

We have spoken out, and now it is the institutions turn to break their silence about us.

Midheta Kaloper Oruli

Amina Krvavac stated that the WCM is proud of the opportunity to lend its support to the fight for dignity and human rights of children born of war and survivors, also emphasizing the capacity of the exhibition, and the preceding workshops, to empower them.

Krvavac also thanked Kirstie Macleod, the British artist whose “Red Dress” is a part of the exhibition – Macleod recognized the importance of this exhibition and cause, and invited the women survivors from BiH to embroider their personal stories onto the dress despite the project being closed to new contributions from March this year.

Red Dress workshop, patterns on the dress
Kirstie Macleod at the Red Dress workshop
Red Dress workshop, pattern design
Red Dress at the Sarajevo City Hall

“Speaking Out” exhibition is dedicated to and co-produced with women survivors of wartime sexual violence and children born of war. It features 12 body maps that describe and illustrate the most important events and experiences in their lives, but also their hopes for the future, as well as personal stories and belongings of children born of war, and excerpts from video testimonies of both survivors and children.

In her video message, the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict praised the exhibition for its capacity to portray both the scars and the resilience of survivors, and to invite greater empathy and understanding. “Children born of war and survivors of wartime rape fell through the cracks of international policy-making, which is why we must work diligently towards creating the conditions that would allow them a life of dignity.”

“Speaking Out” is realized in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration in BiH, the Forgotten Children of War Association, the Wings of Hope Foundation, the Psiholab Association, and with the support of the EU Delegation in BiH and the UK Government.

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