The Belgrade-based Forum for Ethnic Relations, headed by the noted scholar Dr. Dusan Janjic, announced that its offices were invaded, searched, and sealed by special police forces on Tuesday, June 6 on the pretext of searching for financial records. Neither Dr. Janjic nor his staff were on the premises at the time, and did not give permission for the police to enter. Nor did the police present documents authorizing their entry.
The Forum is a sister organization of the Project on Ethnic Relations (PER), an influential American and European non-governmental organization based in Princeton, New Jersey. The President of PER, Dr. Allen Kassof, has expressed his deep concern over this event.
Dr. Kassof said that the Forum for Ethnic Relations has been PER’s main partner in Yugoslavia for over a decade, since the establishment of the Forum. The Forum’s effort to promote interethnic dialogue and harmony in Yugoslavia are vital to the future of that country. Dr. Janjic has carried on his work in a spirit of even-handedness and political neutrality, seeking democratic and peaceful solutions to interethnic conflicts in Yugoslavia and elsewhere in the Balkans. Dr. Janjic was one of the few opinion leaders in Yugoslavia who tried until the end to prevent the tragic war in Kosovo. Other FER projects support the maintenance of peaceful and friendly cooperation between Serbs and Hungarians of Vojvodina, Muslims of Sandzak, and other minorities in Serbia.
The attack on Dr. Janjic and his organization is malicious and short-sighted, said Dr. Kassof, and is yet another blow to Belgrade’s standing in the community of enlightened nations, and retards the return to Yugoslavia’s tradition of interethnic tolerance.