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PRIJEDOR "WHITE ARMBAND DAY" CAMPAIGN
Autor: ACBiH
Objavljeno: 31. May 2017. 18:05:56


Dear friends of Bosnia and Herzegovina,

We are inviting you to join us today in the "White Armband Day" campaign that aims to draw attention to the discrimination and continued denial of crimes that were committed against the non-Serb population by the local government in the city of Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

This campaign hopes to counter human rights violations such as the police ban of commemorative gatherings of the victims of genocide in Prijedor and the refusal of Prijedor's Mayor, Marko Pavic and the Prijedor local authorities to permit the construction of a memorial for the innocent civilian victims that were killed in the notorious concentration camp at Omarska.

The date May 31, 1992 was the beginning of the campaign of extermination of the non-Serb population in Prijedor, which resulted in the ethnic cleansing of 94% of the Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) and Bosnian Croat (Bosnian Catholic) population from the Prijedor municipality. Today, the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (ACBH) commemorates the 25th anniversary of when the Serb authorities in Prijedor ordered all the non-Serb residents to mark their houses with a white flag or sheet and to wear a white armband if they left their house. As a result of ethnic cleansing of the Prijedor municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the town of Kozarac - 53,000 of its Bosniak residents were expelled from their homes, some 3,173 unarmed civilians were executed, and 31,000 civilians were interned in various Serb run concentration camps. This was the first time since 1939 - when the Nazi decree required the Polish Jews to wear white armbands with the Star of David on their sleeve - that members of an ethnic or religious group were marked for extermination in such a manner.

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), co-chair of the Bosnia Caucus in U.S. Congress issued a statement today in honor of White Armband Day stating, "I pay my respects and offer prayers to all the innocent men, women and children who lost their lives in one of the three largest concentration camps during the Bosnian war. I stand in solidarity with survivors of human rights abuses in Prijedor as they struggle to combat the denial of crimes and strive to build a better tomorrow for all people of Bosnia and Herzegovina regardless of ethnic background." Congresswoman Johnson also drew attention to the refusal of the local Prijedor authorities to construct a memorial for the children killed during the war. "Today, I also stand in solidarity with the parents and family members of the 102 children that were killed in Prijedor and urge the local authorities to erect a memorial honoring their innocent lives. Peace and reconciliation is only possible with the presence of justice and I proudly stand with all those who are working towards combatting genocide denial, revision of history and who are working towards a united, multi-ethnic and democratic Bosnia," stated Congresswoman Johnson.

In May of 2012, the Prijedor police banned a public gathering commemorating the brutal murder of 266 women and children during the war of aggression against BiH and the municipal assembly passed a directive to criminally persecute human rights activist from Prijedor. The local police continues to implement these decisions with vigor.

On December 10, 2012, as the international community commemorated the 64th International Human Rights Day, the Prijedor police placed itself above BiH's smaller entity's Republika Srpska law and banned a peaceful march that aimed to mark this anniversary.

In 2013, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) uncovered one of the biggest mass graves in the Prijedor municipality at the Tomasica mines. ICMP is in the process of excavating Bosniak and Croat victims that were killed in the summer of 1992 by the Serb forces.

"ACBH is grateful to Congresswoman Johnson for participating in the White Armband Day campaign and for standing with the victims and survivors. The Bosnian American community commends her on her longstanding leadership and support and invites all members of U.S. Congress to join us in combatting genocide denial and the revision of history," stated ACBH Executive Director, Ajla Delkic.

Please join us today in wearing a white armband and stand in solidarity with the victims of human rights abuses in Prijedor. ACBH urges the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Republika Srpska to ensure that the police, in their activities and duty, do not discriminate against individuals and organizations based on their ethnicity and call upon the Ministries of Security and Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina to investigate all of the cases of abuse and violation. Lastly, we urge the international and local human rights organizations to stand with us in defending the freedom of peaceful assembly and basic human rights of marginalized groups in Prijedor.



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