Dear friends, we have now received support from more than 40 countries of the world for the campaign “Stop Genocide Denial”. The movement keeps growing and as we approach 31 May, the day of global action, here are some suggestions on how you can get involved:
Visit our Facebook page for the latest news on the campaign, the situation in Prijedor and other initiatives aiming to combat genocide denial. Press ‘like’ so you can receive regular updates from the group.
Share the website address (stopgenocidedenial.org) with your friends via e-mail and your social media presence and invite them to visit our Facebook page.
Share our content as you deem appropriate.
Place the ‘White Armband’ photo (see below) as your profile picture on 30 May to raise awareness of the day of action on 31 May.
If you have access to media, send them the link to the page with the text in the appropriate language to explain what the action is about.
If you have a website, place a banner to link to the campaign.
On the day of action, 31 May, wear a white armband and explain to those interested why you are doing it. Place a white sheet on your window if you are able to.
Have a photo of yourself taken with the white armband and/or the white sheet on your home, post it on your social media profile, share it to our Facebook page or send it to us to email@example.com. Please identify the city you are sending from.
Copy the text of the below letter, if you agree with its content, and send it to Prijedor mayor Marko Pavic to firstname.lastname@example.org
Let us know about issues, ideas and suggestions you have on this and any similar issues you know of via the website, e-mail or Facebook page.
We thank you greatly for your support and helping the voice of genocide victims be heard by Marko Pavic and those like him. Let’s make ourselves heard – for victims’ dignity and the right to remember.
The letter you can copy and send the the mayor of Prijedor Marko Pavic on email@example.com:
I write to you to protest your unacceptable behavior towards the survivors and families of victims of the crimes committed in Prijedor in 1992 and later. Your publicly stated decision to forbid the marking of the 20th anniversary of the crimes due to the use of the word ‘genocide’ has echoed darkly around the world. Due to your actions, after twenty years, Prijedor is again being shown as a dark place where the basic human rights are denied to the most vulnerable by the world media, international human rights groups and all freedom-loving people.
Your denial of crimes committed in Prijedor is known since your statement in 2009 that “Muslims are lying and accusing without proof” for crimes in Omarska and that those who “smear Prijedor’s name should not be looking for employment here”. These days you went a step further, openly forbidding the event supposed to mark the deaths of 266 women and girls from Prijedor, threatening police action against anyone who dares to do so. For your information, the event was held in Belgrade, at the Republic Square, instead of their birthplace. For this you should be ashamed.
In your statements you openly target victims’ groups although you are fully aware that this spreads fear among the families of the killed and disappeared in Prijedor, and the survivors, because there are still hundreds of war crimes suspects living freely in Prijedor who are yet to face justice.
Mayor Pavic, your statements and actions clearly show that certain groups do not enjoy the same rights as others in your municipality. What you allow Serb groups is forbidden to non-Serbs. You have allowed even the gatherings and marches through the city of fascist groups representing those who the brave people of Prijedor and Kozara fought in the World War II, while you deny victims the right to remembrance.
Although you claim that you wish a better future to the citizens of Prijedor, your actions testify to exactly the opposite. They undermine Prijedor’s reputation and represent and attack on the freedom of expression, gathering and work. This constitutes an attack on the basic foundations of contemporary democracy and human rights, and it deserves the strongest possible condemnation.
Mr. Pavic, you do not own Prijedor and cannot deny basic rights to your fellow citizens only on the basis of their ethnicity. Those days are gone. Nobody has the right to decide for victims how they will remember their killed relatives and neighbours.
The use of the word ‘genocide’ is not against any law and the victims have the right to name the events from 1992. this way. In support of it stand 102 murdered Prijedor children, 256 women, 3173 civilians, 31 000 detained and tortured in camps, 53 000 humiliated, robbed and deported people; complete annihilation of cultural, religious and economic property of Bosniaks and Croats in Prijedor municipality; a series of legal decisions of international courts and two active cases before the Hague Tribunal in which genocide is alleged to have happened in Prijedor.
In your municipality civilian victims, survivors of camps and rape victims of non-Serb nationality have no rights whatsoever and more than a thousand people are still listed as missing. Prijedor is a municipality with the highest number of convicted war criminals in the world, Mr. Pavic, a place where the most horrible concentration camps since World War II were held, and your denial of crimes comes across as the final stage of the campaign of extermination.
The municipal authorities you lead have not until this day acknowledged the victims of this genocidal campaign for the suffering they endured. You refuse to publicly acknowledge the crimes that have taken place in Prijedor, despite numerous judgments of international and local courts. You refuse to memorialize non-Serb victims in city’s public spaces and recently started denying victims the access to the sites of their suffering in collaboration with partners like ArcelorMittal.
Mayor Pavic, we demand that you stop pressuring survivors and families of war crimes victims. We demand that you respect their right to remembrance and stop obstructing their efforts to share their pain and memories of their loved ones killed in 1992. with their fellow citizens. We demand that you treat all victims equally and stop discriminating on the basis of ethnicity, nationality or religion. We demand that Prijedor municipal authorities mark the memory of the non-Serb victims in the same way it has done with the Serb victims.
We call on you to join us on 31 May and wear a white armband in solidarity with your fellow citizens of Prijedor who were ordered to do so twenty years ago so they could be identified and later killed, detinaed in camps or deported. This will show that you truly are in favour of a better future for all citizens of Prijedor. Because without the reckoning with the dark past there will be no better future – not for us, nor for our children. You surely know that.
You will never be able to take away the victims’ right to remembrance, Mr. Pavic. We will never give up this fight, you can be sure of that. This is a fight for the victims’ rights, but also for the future of the children of Prijedor and the world.