Kroatien: Jelka Glumicic

I can't tell when I first acted on what I have always felt strongly about: all human rights to every human being. It seems to me that I had a dream to act in that field as long as I can remember.

— Jelka Glumicic

When the war broke out in Croatia in 1991, Jelka Glumicic witnessed the suffering of innocent people. Surrounded by fanatical and violent nationalists, she vowed to dedicate her life to peace building. In 1996, Jelka established the Shelter for the Aged in Dunjak, a home which accommodated more than 30 people over a period of three years. She established an international volunteering network, where more than 40 volunteers from Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and other countries came to help. She has also established links with an organization that helpes rebuild ruined homes.

Jelka Glumicic believes in the old saying that “actions speak louder than words.” She also believes in leading by example. In 1992, Jelka Glumicic was one of the founders of the Democratic Union, an independent political party in Croatia headed by Branko Horvat who is a world-renowned economist and Nobel prize nominee. The party stood for anti-fascism, human rights, and gender equality. The government viewed the party very unfavorably and party members often received death threats if they persisted in their activities. In 1996, Jelka established the Shelter for the Aged in Dunjak and an international volunteer network. She also relates with Tools for Reconciliation, another organization which helps rebuild ruined homes. In 1997, she organized a workshop with the help of a Dutch organization that managed to repair over 600 homes devastated by war and assisted in cleaning over 200 water sources. In 1997, Jelka also established a partnership with the United Nations Refugee Agency to help Croatian refugees return home and provide them with legal and psychological support. Over 20,000 refugees benefited from this project. She believes violence harms both the victim and the perpetrator. She has been lobbying and establishing a network of like-minded organizations that are engaged in reconciliation and the prosecution of war crimes in Croatia. Jelka has been working intensively on initiatives that promote education on how to build a democratic and civilized society. In 1998, she initiated a Committee for Women’s Rights with a helpline and a shelter for women and children who are victims of violence. This is the second shelter of such kind established in Croatia. Jelka also organized the Committee for Civilian Service to lobby for civilian instead of military service for conscientious objectors.

Center for Peace Studies