Open Letter to Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek

Open Letter to Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek


On behalf of the Institute for the Research of Genocide, the Bosniak-Canadian Society of Calgary, the entire Bosnian-Herzegovinian community of Canada, and numerous Canadian friends of Bosnia and Herzegovina who are invested in truth and justice concerning the Srebrenica genocide, we would like to express our outrage at your refusal to: 1) issue a letter of recognition on the 27th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, the largest crime in Europe since the Holocaust; and, 2) proclaim July 11 as the Day of Commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide in Calgary.

Your response to our request states the following: “In recent years, The City has tried to recognize other genocides, as the requests had come from the community. Even though the letters of recognition focused on remembrance and not the historical facts, The City received letters from other groups that were against the recognition. After careful consideration, and having consulted the Mayor's Office, we will not be issuing a letter of recognition at this time.”


To the survivors of the genocide in Srebrenica, your decision is a barbaric, dehumanizing, and monstrous insult to the long-suffering Mothers of Srebrenica, the victims of genocide, and those who are passionately invested in truth and justice.


Members of IGC’s international team of experts hereby advise you that your decision goes against not only the final judgements of UN tribunals, but also the unanimously adopted resolution of the Canadian Parliament recognizing July 11 as Day of Commemoration of the genocide in Srebrenica. In accordance with national and international court verdicts, the genocide in Srebrenica is one of five genocides recognized by the state of Canada, and every April schools and research institutes across Canada include it in their curricula marking Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation, and Prevention month.


We would like to remind you of the words of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, delivered on the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide: “And as we mark the 25th anniversary of this tragedy, we vow to remember and honor those who unjustly suffered and lost their lives. We mourn with the families, friends, and loved ones of the victims and pay tribute to the survivors who continue to live with these painful memories and who keep fighting for truth and justice. Canada remains a committed member of the Peace Implementation Council and we continue to aid Bosnia and Herzegovina in establishing a stable, multi-ethnic, economically sustainable democracy. Together we must all stand firm against hatred, intolerance, and discrimination. Because by standing up for human rights around the world we will honour the victims and make sure atrocities like this never happen again. To Bosniaks in Canada and around the world: Canada stands with you and mourns with you today.”


We would also like to remind you of Canadian facts concerning the genocide in Srebrenica: in 2015, the Canadian Parliament unanimously adopted a groundbreaking proposal to recognize April as Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation, and Prevention month and named those genocides officially recognized by Canada, including the Srebrenica genocide.


In 2010, the Canadian Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution recognizing the genocide in Srebrenica and establishing a Day of Commemoration of the Srebrenica Genocide in Canada. The Canadian city of Windsor paid tribute to the victims of the Srebrenica genocide by erecting a monument in Jackson Park—the first of its kind outside Bosnia and Herzegovina.


In 2019, Member of Parliament Brian Masse tabled petition e-1837, calling upon the Canadian government to enact legislation that would criminally sanction Srebrenica genocide deniers in Canada. The Srebrenica genocide is studied in some Canadian schools and universities.


Considering the damage you have caused to the Mothers of Srebrenica, genocide survivors, and numerous Canadians, we hereby demand that you formally apologize to the victims and members of the Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada and the Bosniak-Canadian Society of Calgary.


We also demand that next year you recognize July 11 as a Day of Commemoration for the victims of the Srebrenica genocide.


Dr. Emir Rami?, director of the Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada