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Statement on Worldwide White Armband Day

Statement on Worldwide White Armband Day

On May 31st 1992, in Prijedor, a town in north-western Bosnia and Herzegovina, after a forceful takeover of the municipal government, Bosnian Serb authorities issued a decree on local radio ordering all non-Serbian citizens to mark their houses with white flags or bedsheets and to wear white armbands when leaving the house. Tens of thousands of family members of those forced to wear white armbands had been detained in prison camps established during the war in Bosnia.

In Prijedor, 3,173 people — 256 women and 102 children among them — were killed during the war in Bosnia. Almost 31,000 people were detained in prison camps, and 53,000 were forced to flee. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague has sentenced several Bosnian Serbs to prison terms, some of them decades long, for war crimes committed in and around Prijedor. Survivors told the Hague tribunal of horrific acts of torture, rape and murder committed in the camps.

In 2012, ahead of the 20th anniversary of the white armband decree, Prijedor residents formed the Stop Genocide Denial group, aiming to raise awareness of Worldwide White Armband Day. Since then, the remembrance of these atrocities and crimes against humanity has grown all around the world.

Worldwide White Armband Day reminds us of the brutality of hatred and the human capacity for unspeakable cruelty. We all have a duty to ensure that the crimes of genocide and torture are permanently eradicated, that the victims of such crimes are remembered, and that perpetrators are exposed and brought to justice. Combating genocide denial is an essential part of the process. As part of this effort, I will work with fellow Members of Parliament to pass a motion in the House of Commons to recognize World White Ribbon Day in Canada.

Today is a day to remember and support the victims of atrocities, along with the entire global community committed to truth, justice and respect for victims and their families.

Sincerely,

Brian Masse M. P. (Windsor West)

Izjava Briana Massea, člana Kanadskog parlamenta povodom Svjetskog dana bijelih traka

Dana 31. maja 1992. godine, u Prijedoru, gradu u sjeverozapadnoj Bosni i Hercegovini, nakon nasilnog preuzimanja opštinske vlasti, vlasti bosanskih Srba izdale su dekret na lokalnom radiju kojim se naređuje svim nesrpskim građanima da svoje kuće obilježe bijelim zastavama ili bijelom čaršavima i da nose bijele trake na rukama kada izlaze iz kuće. Desetine hiljada članova porodica onih koji su bili prisiljeni da nose bijele trake bili su zatočeni u logorima osnovanim tokom rata u Bosni i Hercegovini.

U Prijedoru su tokom rata ubijene 3.173 osobe, od čega 256 žena i 102 djece. Gotovo 31.000 ljudi bilo je zatočeno u logorima, a 53.000 je bilo prisiljeno da pobjegne. Međunarodni krivični sud za bivšu Jugoslaviju (ICTY) u Hagu osudio je nekoliko bosanskih Srba na zatvorske kazne, od kojih su neki na višedecenijske kazne, za ratne zločine počinjene u Prijedoru i okolini. Preživjeli su ispričali Haškom tribunalu o užasnim djelima mučenja, silovanja i ubistava počinjenih u logorima.

Prijedorčani su 2012. godine, uoči 20. godišnjice dekreta o bijelim trakama, formirali grupu Stop Genocide Denial, sa ciljem podizanja svijesti o Svjetskom danu bijelih traka. Od tada, širom svijeta raste sjećanje na ove zločine i zločine protiv čovječnosti.

Svjetski dan bijelih traka podsjeća nas na brutalnost mržnje i ljudsku sposobnost za neizrecivu okrutnost. Svi smo dužni osigurati da se zločini genocida i torture trajno iskorijene, da se žrtve takvih zločina pamte, a da se počinioci razotkriju i privedu pravdi. Borba protiv poricanja genocida je suštinski dio procesa. Kao dio ovog napora, radit ću s kolegama članovima parlamenta Kanade na usvajanju rezolucije za priznavanje Svjetskog dana bijelih traka u Kanadi.

Danas je dan za sjećanje i podršku žrtvama zločina, zajedno sa cijelom globalnom zajednicom posvećenom istini, pravdi i poštovanju žrtava i njihovih porodica.

S poštovanjem,

Brian Masse M. P. (Windsor West)

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