First March

To all who perceive Bosnia and Herzegovina as their homeland, we wish a happy March 1st, the Independence Day of BiH


24 years ago today, citizens of BiH chose to become independent. This day is considered as one of the most important days in the BiH’s modern history. On this date in 1992, 64% of BiH citizens answered “yes” on the referendum question “Do you want Bosnia to be an independent state of all its citizens and equal nations?” Unfortunately, even after more than twenty years, Independence Day is celebrated only in the Federation of BiH, while in the entity of Republika Srpska, March 1st is just a regular day. The Referendum on the independence of BiH was held at the recommendation of the Arbitrage Committee of the International Conference on Yugoslavia on 29 February and 1 March and marked the citizens’ preferences regarding the future of the country, while at the same time it became an introduction to the bloody aggression against BiH. Still, the electorate of the whole country voted on the referendum. The independence of BiH was achieved through votes cast by all - Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks alike. Since then the 1st of March is considered one of the most important dates in the modern history of BiH. Since then, BiH has faced some of the greatest challenges seen in Europe since World War II. This bittersweet day challenges us all to remember the souls lost in the 1992-1995 war while also looking forward to a strong, prosperous and united Bosnia and Herzegovina – a country fit for all of its citizens and all who call BiH home. After the declaration of independence, BiH suffered genocide and ethnic cleansing as its citizens were launched into a war that took more than 100,000 lives and displaced over 2 million people.


Today, we honor  the people of BiH at home and abroad, and on her 24. birthday, it is her citizens who should be celebrated. The people of BiH have persevered through years of war and what seem to be never ending struggles, yet they continue to demand justice and social change from their leaders and each other.  Therefore, to all those who feel that BiH is their homeland, who are proud of this sovereign and internationally recognised country, the Institute for Research of Genocide, Canada congratulates the 1st of March, Independence Day of BiH!