Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 April 2014, 16:25 GMT

Chronology for Sandzak Muslims in Yugoslavia

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Sandzak Muslims in Yugoslavia, 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469f38f61e.html [accessed 16 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Date(s) Item
Jul 1990 The Party of Democratic Action (SDA) is formed as a political group to represent the interests of Serbia's Moslems, primarily those in the Sandzak region.
Sep 9, 1990 Police clash with 2,000 to 4,000 Moslems in a Sandzak town. The Moslems had been waiting to confront Serbs returning from a rally of about 20,000 supporters of the Serbian Renewal movement. Moslems had been protesting this rally for several days.
Feb 1991 Sulejman Ugljanin, President of the Sandzak branch of the SDA, says that Moslems in Sandzak enjoy no rights and that a propaganda war is being waged against them.
Mar 1991 Serbian President Milosevic announces a mobilization of Serb police regiments against what is alleged to be unrest among Moslems in Sandzak. The SDA accuses Milosevic of trying to blame Moslems for all of Serbia's problems and artificially starting an ethnic conflict.
Mar 1991 The BBC reports that the SDA says that the Sandzak region will declare autonomy if any other Yugoslav republic secedes or if it feels that it is necessary to protect the region's Moslem population. Note From this point on the SDA and other Sandzak Moslem groups voice repeated demands for autonomy. Such demands will not be further noted here unless otherwise noteworthy.
Jul 27, 1991 Several thousand people gather to commemorate the first anniversary of the SDA.
Oct 1991 An article in the Washington Quarterly notes that clashes between Serbs and Moslems in Sandzak have been occurring.
Oct 25 - 27, 1991 A referendum on autonomy is held by the Moslem National Council (MNC) in the Sandzak region. The referendum is held in direct response to the Bosnian Serbs' declaration of independence from the Sarajevo authorities. 70.2% of the region's population takes part in the referendum of whom 98.9% vote in favor of autonomy. The referendum is not held in one of Sandzak's six districts where the Moslem population is relatively small. The Serbian government declares the referendum illegal.
Apr 20, 1992 The BBC reports that the SDA has appealed to the UN concerning the Serb military buildup in Sandzak.
Jul 1992 The Council for Cooperation and Security in Europe (CSCE) condemns Serbia for human rights violations in Sandzak.
Aug 1992 The CSCE decides to send human rights observers to Sandzak.
Aug 19, 1992 UPI reports from Sandzak state that Serbian paramilitary forces have staged attacks on Moslem-owned properties in the town of Pljevlja.
Aug 30, 1992 The Washington Post reports that a policy of sustained intimidation and occasional violence is driving Sandzak Moslems from their homes.
Sep 17, 1992 Reuters reports on claims by the MNC that 69,000 Sandzak Moslems have been driven from their homes by "Serbian aggression" during the past few months. Moslems have been attacked and shot and homes have been burned down.
Oct 1992 Moslems in Sandzak boycott a referendum calling for early national elections in Serbia.
Oct 22, 1992 Between 17 and 24 Moslems from the Sandzak village of Sjeverin are kidnaped by gunmen believed to belong to a Serb paramilitary group. They are never heard from again.
Nov 1992 Following the October kidnapping of 17 to 24 Sandzak Moslems, Serbia brings in special police to protect the area's Moslems. Sandzak Moslems complain that the police are really an occupation force and do nothing to stop the harassment by local Serbs.
Nov 8, 1992 About 800 participate in a SDA-organized peaceful demonstration protesting the October disappearances.
Nov 9, 1992 The Guardian reports that SDA president Ugljanin has threatened to establish a regional parliament unless the Serb "occupation" army and police leave.
Nov 9, 1992 NPR reports that Sandzak Moslem leaders have documented in recent months numerous cases of harassment and terror against Moslems including murder, houses burned and stores bombed.
Nov 11, 1992 The Washington Post reports that according to Sandzak Moslem leaders 60,000 to 80,000 Sandzak Moslems have fled the region.
Nov 18, 1992 Inter Press Service reports that in the Sandzak Village of Suvi Do, both a Church and a Mosque are being built. Serbs and Moslems each call the building of the others house of worship a provocation.
Nov 26, 1992 The BBC reports a statement by a Serb general that there are no military formations in Sandzak but that both Serbs and Moslems are armed.
Dec 1992 The SDA decides not to take part in national elections.
Dec 11, 1992 Reuters reports a significant number of Bosnian Moslem refugees in the Sandzak region.
Jan 30, 1993 The BBC reports that a group of Sandzak Moslems has been arrested for subversion.
Feb 18, 1993 The Sandzak village of Kukurevci is shelled by Serb troops. Nine Moslem houses are destroyed and three people are killed.
Apr 5, 1993 The BBC reports that a Sandzak Moslem magazine is banned by the Serbian government because it carried a caricature offensive to certain politicians in Serbia.
May 1 - Jun 30, 1993 There is a wave of arrests of Moslems in Sandzak for the illegal possession of weapons. Many of those arrested have close ties to the SDA.
May 29, 1993 The Washington Post reports a claim by a SDA official that 70,000 Moslems have been expelled from the Sandzak over the past 13 months since the Bosnian war began. The SDA also claims that over the past 13 months there have been 139 Moslems kidnaped, murdered or missing in Sandzak and almost 100 Moslem homes have been destroyed in a campaign of ethnic cleansing by the Serbs.
Jul 1993 Serbia orders the CSCE human rights observers in Sandzak to leave.
Aug 1993 The CSCE condemns Serbia for human rights violations in Sandzak.
Sep 1993 An arrest warrant is issued for SDA president Ugljanin while he is out of the country.
Nov 19, 1993 SDA president Ugljanin demands autonomy for the Sandzak region and accuses the Serbs of genocide against the Moslems in the region.
Nov 27, 1993 The BBC reports that the SDA urges Moslems to boycott upcoming election due to the "unprecedented media satanization of the Moslems, arrest threats to the party's president,... [the destruction] of Moslem houses, and [the] mass exodus of Moslems under political duress."
Dec 27, 1993 The 1993 US Department of State Report on Human Rights catalogs numerous government-condoned paramilitary attacks on Sandzak Moslems, direct government intimidation of Sandzak Moslems, the replacement of Moslem government officials with Serbs, and the destruction of Moslem places of worship, homes, and businesses.
Feb 1, 1994 Eight SDA leaders are arrested on charges of sabotage with the intent to set up an independent Sandzak state.
Apr 11, 1994 The Christian Science Monitor publishes reports that over 50 key SDA activists have been arrested and tortured by Serb authorities.
Aug 1, 1994 16 Sandzak Moslems held in prison begin a hunger strike as a protest against their trial for engaging in secessionist activities.
Jan 20, 1995 The BBC reports that the Secretary-General of the SDA has issued a statement criticizing party leader Ugljanin for being out of line with party policy since he was forced to leave the country in 1993.
Mar 1995 The 1994 US Department of State Report on Human Rights reports on a continuation of the ethnic cleansing policy in Sandzak by the Serbian government. This includes official intimidation, the tolerance of violent activities by Serb paramilitary groups, and politically-motivated arrests and convictions of Moslem activists.
Mar 24, 1995 The BBC reports MNC allegations that Moslems in the Serb army have been tortured during their military service.
Aug 1995 Bosnian Serb refugees are being settled in the Sandzak region sparking SDA protests that the government is trying to alter the region's ethnic composition.
Sep 1995 The SDA reports that five Moslem houses in the Sandzak region have been burned by Serbs.
Jan 13, 1996 A delegation of the Muslim National Council [MNV] of Sandzak holds a news conference in Sarajevo and discusses resolving the status of Sandzak and the Bosniaks [Muslims] in Sandzak after the Dayton Agreement. (BBC)
Sep 26, 1996 Representatives of the Democratic Alliance of Albanians [DSA] in Montenegro and the Montenegrin branch of the [Bosnian] Party of Democratic Action [SDA] agree at a meeting that both parties have an interest in a joint participation in the forthcoming elections in the republic.
Oct 7, 1996 Political parties which are members of the Muslim National Council of Sandzak (MNVS) sign an agreement to form electoral coalition under the name " Sandzak List Sulejman Ugljanin".(BBC)
Nov 4, 1996 Sandzak Muslims complain of irregularities regarding the organization of federal and local elections, such as denying of voting rights to more than 50,000 Muslims in Sandzak. In reaction to these irregularities the List for Sandzak sents an open letter to the US secretary of state; the OSCE; the Council of Europe; the European Parliament; [UN Human Rights Rapporteur] Elizabeth Rehn; the presidents, parliaments and governments of Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro; the federal [Yugoslav] election commission; and embassies in Belgrade. A group of hungers strikers demands full exercise of the Sandzak Muslims' voting rights.(BBC)
Feb 1997 The US Department of State reports on cases of discrimination on behalf of the Serbian authorities against the Sandzak Muslims. These incidents include random searches of Muslim homes, vehicles, shops, and offices, on the pretext that those were searches for weapons. There are credible reports that Muslims continued to be driven from their homes or fired from their jobs on the basis of religion or ethnicity.(US Department of State)
Feb 20, 1997 An association of political prisoners of Sandzak was set up in Novi Pazar to demand an end to the legal proceedings against a group of 24 Muslims, which has been under way since 1993. The group of the 24 Muslims was arrested in 1994 on charges that they were illegally arming themselves and planning to violate the territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. (BBC)
Mar 14, 1997 Representatives of the MNVS (the Muslim National Coincil of Sandzak)stress the need for the OSCE to expand its mandate and open its offices in all major towns in Sandzak.(BBC)
Apr 4, 1997 The main committee of the Party of Democratic Action of Sandzak [SDA of Sandzak, an offshoot of the ruling Bosnian Muslim party] has asked the Muslim National Council [main political body rallying Muslims in Sandzak] to forward a demand to the federal [Yugoslav] government and the governments of the republics of Serbia and Montenegro for the proclamation of the region's special status. A memorandum on the special status envisages that the region should be demilitarized, but with its own police, judicial system and customs. The measures to be adopted regarding the status of Sandzak come in response to the loss of the national status of the region under the former constitution of the Federal Yugoslavia.(BBC)
Apr 12, 1997 In a statement before a round table organized by the council of Bosniak intellectuals in Sarajevo Sefko Alomerovic, chairman of the Helsinki Watch in Sandzak, reports that between 60 and 80,000, mostly young people have left Sandzak since the start of the aggression against Bosnia-Hercegovina; 34 citizens were killed, 130 kidnapped and 29 injured. Almerovic also says that eighteen attacks were carried out on villages and 129 buildings were mined.(BBC)
Apr 12, 1997 Members of the Yugoslav Army open artillery fire in the Razdaginja local community in the Sjenica municipality. The Sandzak Muslim National Council says artillery attacks in this area have been going on for some time.(BBC)
Jun 20, 1997 The executive committee of the Muslim National Council of Sandzak approves the decisions of the sixth session of the presidency of the Muslim National Council of Sandzak on the status of the Bosniak [Muslim] people in Sandzak and other areas of Yugoslavia. (BBC)
Jul 15, 1997 Serbian authorities bring in strong police forces in Novi Pazar, dissolve its municipal assembly, set up a council which represents the interests of Belgrade, and introduce a state of emergency in the town.(BBC)
Jul 26, 1997 The Interior Ministry in Novi Pazar bans a rally scheduled by the "List for Sandzak - Dr Sulejman Ugljanin" coalition.(BBC)
Aug 7, 1997 Sulejman Ugljanin, chairman of the Muslim National Council of Sandzak, asks Haris Silajdzic, cochairman of the Bosnia-Hercegovina Council of Ministers, to inform US special envoy Richard Holbrooke about the serious political situation in Sandzak.(BBC)
Aug 12, 1997 The "List for Sandzak - Sulejman Ugljanin" political party coalition, a member of the Muslim National Council of Sandzak (MNVS), asks Republic Assembly Speaker Dragan Tomic to annul the decision of the Novi Pazar municipality assembly emergency administration prohibiting public gatherings in open places. (BBC)
Aug 30, 1997 The executive committee of the Muslim National Council of Sandzak decides that the Sulejman Ugljanin-List for Sandzak' Coalition will participate in the upcoming republican presidential and parliamentary elections.(BBC)
Sep 2, 1997 A Belgrade radio commentary says that Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic and his supporters are planning Montenegro's secession from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), and separation from Montenegro's senior federal partner, Serbia.(BBC)
Oct 22, 1997 Rasim Ljajic, president of the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), assesses the victory of Milo Djukanovic in the Montenegrin presidential elections. Ljajic says, Djukanovic's victory has curtailed "the authority of Slobodan Milosevic" . Ljalic voices satisfaction with "the Sandzak Muslims turning out at the polling stations in "unprecedented numbers", thereby making a full contribution" to Djukanovic's success", despite the irrational decision of the Muslim National Council of Sandzak to call for a boycott of the elections".(BBC)
Nov 7, 1997 The Serbian Radical Party complains of attacks on its premises in Novi Pazar which have inflicted huge material damage. (BBC)
Jan 16, 1998 Rasim Ljajic, head of the Sandzak Coalition holds talks with the US special envoy for the Balkans, Robert Gelbard, on the situation in Sandzak, in which he emphasizes in particular the "problem of the emigration of the Sandzak population" and the "untenable situation" in the Sandzak Municipal Assembly. Ljajic demands "greater involvement by the international community in the settlement of all contentious political problems in this region". The Party of Democratic Action of Sandzak announces that Gelbard has stressed that Sandzak "is the constant subject of the US administration's interest and that the Yugoslav authorities have been told on several occasions that the United States is concerned about the situation in that region" .(BBC)
Feb 27, 1998 A Muslim party official in Sandzak says, troop movements in the region are frightening the local population, who see leaving the area as their only option. The official says, public attention is currently focused on the issue of Kosovo, leaving Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to carry out his project of "ethnically cleansing" Sandzak.(BBC)
Jun 9, 1998 The congress of the Sandzak Party of Democratic Action re-elects Sulejman Ugljanin as its chairman with an absolute majority of votes in a secret ballot in Novi Pazar. The statement issued by the congress of the party emphasizes that the party condemns " the repressive policy of the state authorities upon the civilian population in Kosovo and calls on the international community to halt violence and undertake measures in Sandzak" .(BBC)
Jul 17, 1998 The municipal committee of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) in Tutin (Sandzak)calls on the Serbian government to introduce administrative measures in the Tutin municipal assembly where the List for Sandzak-Sulejman Ugljanin party holds the majority.(BBC)
Jul 24, 1998 The independent Belgrade-based news agency Beta, reports, that the Party of Democratic Action SDA, and the Bosniak Muslim party BDS of Sandzak, have protested at the presence of Yugoslav Army members in the villages of Draga and Vrbe in Tutin municipality close to Kosovo and Serbia's border with Montenegro. The BDS of Sandzak's statement demands the return of the OSCE monitoring mission to Sandzak. (BBC)
Jul 25, 1998 Commenting on the talks held by the representatives of the List for Sandzak-Sulejman Ugljanin party, Tutin mayor, Semsudin Kucevic says that the Yugoslav border guards are preventing exiled Bosniaks [Muslims] from Sandzak from returning to their homes in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, political trials are still taking place, and the national status of the Bosniaks [Muslims] remains unresolved. (BBC)
Oct 12, 1998 Muslim families are leaving Serbia's Sandzak area for fear of reprisals by extremist Serbs if Nato carries out its threat of air strikes over the Kosovo crisis. Many Muslim families are heading out of Serbia into Bosnia, hoping to find refuge in Sarajevo.(Birmingham Post)
Dec 3, 1998 Sulejman Ugljanin's List for Sandzak coalition has accused the Yugoslav authorities of treating Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Muslims and their legally elected representatives with "hatred, hostility and continuing discrimination". The coalition has asked the Serbian Assembly to annul the decision that led to the introduction of emergency measures in Novi Pazar assembly on 10th July 1997.(BBC)
Feb 8, 1999 The chairman of the Bosniak National Council of Sandzak (BNVS) Sulejman Ugljanin, has made a request for the BNVS to officially participate in the work of the international conference on Kosovo in Rambouillet.(BBC)
Feb 23, 1999 In a statement for the Sarajevo-based weekly Ljiljan', Alija Izetbegovic, Bosnian Muslim member of the Presidency of Bosnia-Hercegovina and leader of the Party of Democratic Action says that Muslims in Sandzak have demanded special status, but not secession from Yugoslavia. Izetbegovic notes that the regime of Slobodan Milosevic must return Sandzak's self-rule, which was abolished two years ago.(BBC)
Mar 27, 1999 Fearing that Serb anger against Kosovo will now turn against them, hundreds of Muslim refugees from Serbia have fled to Sarajevo, claiming thousands more are trying to escape. The refugees, mostly women, children and elderly men, began arriving on crowded buses from Sandzak.(Birmingham Post)
Apr 2, 1999 The Bosniak National Council of Sandzak (BNVS) says at its session that certain individuals and political parties are using the current situation to spread misinformation on the situation in the region. BNVS President Sulejman Ugljanin says that such an example is a report published in BH media that around 20,000 Bosniaks have fled Sandzak since the beginning of the NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia. Denying such reports Ugljanin says that the BNVS has called on Bosniaks to overcome their fears and panic and stay at home and at work so as to thwart the scenario for the ethnic cleansing of Sandzak.(BBC)
Jun 8, 1999 Political parties in Sandzak, such as the Party of Democratic Action, the Democratic Party, and the Serbian Renewal Movement, have received the peace plan for Kosovo with relief, albeit they insisted on the return of refugees from Sandzak. Out of fear of NATO bombs and possible paramilitary formations, before and during air raids on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, more than 30,000, mostly Sandzak Muslims, but also several thousand local Serbs, have fled to the Bosnia-Hercegovina Federation and the Bosnian Serb Republic.(BBC)

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