Since the beginning of the armed conflict in Mostar in April 1992, Azra Hasanbegovic helped organize small groups that assisted people most badly struck by the war. She initiated the women’s association Žena BiH, whose main mission is to struggle for women’s right to work. She also established the Agency for Free Legal Aid and Services and an SOS hotline. At the same time, she worked on documentation of the suffering of Mostar and Prozor women and submitted a detailed report to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
In September 1993, during the armed conflict, Azra Hasanbegovic was expelled from her apartment and took refuge at a Jew's house. Owing to his efforts and freedom of movement, the two of them were able to bring tons of food to the completely blocked and isolated East Mostar. In February 1994, she was forced to leave Mostar as her life was threatened. Together with a convoy of Jews, with forged documents and a Jewish name, she escaped from Mostar and went to Zagreb. As soon as she arrived in Zagreb, she engaged in the activities of Žena BiH, a women’s association established by women refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Although it was considered impossible at that time to conduct peace gatherings, Azra was able to participate in a peace meeting in Vukovar, together with other women from all over the world. After returning to East Mostar, she immediately organized a local association of the Žena BiH whose main mission is to struggle for women’s right to work. The association started off with 32 members; after three months, there were 700 and, shortly afterwards, 2000 members, most of them women refugees. Azra also gathered 250 former women prisoners of war and established the Agency for Free Legal Aid and Services as well as the SOS hotline. She mobilized women to supervise these projects. At the same time, she worked on documentation about the suffering of Mostar and Prozor women, prepared a detailed report and submitted it to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 1995. She has taken part in numerous peace conferences and conferences organized by women activists in Bosnia and Herzogovina and other countries of Europe, and also in meetings about the former Yugoslavia.
Žena Bosnia and Herzegovina (Žena BiH)