On the occasion of May 9th – Victory Day over Fascism and the Day of Concentration Camp Detainees of Bosnia and Herzegovina – the Declaration of anti-fascist struggle’s continuation (below) was initiated by Women in Black, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, Center for Women’s Studies, art collectives Grupa Spomenik (Monument Group) and Working Group “Four Faces of Omarska”.
The Declaration is supported by the Association of Concentration-camp Detainees “Prijedor 92” and the Association of Concentration Camp Detainees in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Declaration will be publicly read on May 9th at 12.30 p.m. at the site of the former concentration camp in Omarska (1992), currently the ArcelorMittal mine, and at the site of the World War II camp Banjica, in front of the Musem of the Banjica Camp at Veljka Lukica – Kurjaka 8 in Belgrade.
The act of its simultaneous reading in Omarska and Belgrade is our way of showing both solidarity with and respect to the victims of fascism. Declaration’s reading in Omarska, still an unmarked atrocity site, is an act of active support and participation in the memorial’s establishment.
We invite you to support the Declaration with your signature or to partake in its reading in Omarska or Belgrade and thus confirm your commitment to anti-fascism.
* * * *
On the occasion of May 9th – Victory Day over Fascism and the Day of Concentration Camp Detainees of Bosnia and Herzegovina – we address the following to all citizens of the Republic of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina:
Declaration of anti-fascist struggle’s continuation
By means of this Declaration, we denounce the contemporary politics in the Republic of Serbia which negates the existence of concentration camps and other crimes of war committed during the Nineties. The negation of these crimes annuls the heritage of our people, and the inherent dignity of our World War Two legacy – the equality of all peoples of all nations in the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Extreme right-wing organizations and hooligan groups promote denial and impunity for war crimes while national institutions implement this politics of negation, thus legitimizing continued violence and hatred.
The political rehabilitation of the Chetnik movement and Draza Mihailovic revises the World War Two history, disingenuously equating fascism and anti-fascism.
Despite possible practical cultural and economic reasons for linking the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Srpska, we condemn any such affiliation in as much as it negates the broader multi-ethnic Bosnian and Herzegovinian context. This association directly undermines the integrity and territorial sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and hinders the rapprochement of all its nations.
We welcome the public statements addressed during the Karadjordjevo Summit of April 26th, 2011, since they emphasize the necessity of reconciliation, stable relations and normalization in the region.
Our conviction is that no reconciliation is possible unless we deal with our wartime past. Thus, We invite the authorities of the Republic of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Srpska and Prijedor Municipality – as well as the public of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and throughout the former Yugoslavia – to support the initiative of the former Omarska concentration camp detainees to establish a memorial centre on the location of the ArcelorMittal mine. Situated in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the site of the former Omarska concentration camp, established in 1992 by Prijedor’s municipal authorities, more than 3300 citizens of that very municipality were imprisoned and tortured at this camp, and it’s estimated that more than 700 were murdered there.
We deem the civilian suffering at the Omarska concentration camp, and at all other concentration camps established during the Nineties’ wars, worthy of recognition and commemoration. Making these sites and the atrocities suffered there a part of public memory is a necessary step toward renewed shared existence in the region of the former Yugoslavia.
In its December 1st, 2005, decision, ArcelorMittal gave support to the establishment of a memorial centre within the Omarska mine. By supporting this initiative, the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Srpska would clearly demonstrate their readiness to actively and critically acknowledge the mass crimes systematically committed against non-Serbian civilians.
Additionally, we invite ArcelorMittal to reverse its current discriminatory policy of employment based on ethnicity. This practice represents a post-war continuation of ethnic cleansing through other means.
We demand that Republic of Serbia put an immediate stop to the activities of extreme right-wing organizations and hooligan groups which incite and commit violence and promote hate speech in public and media space, and to ban all such future activities from these groups.
This Declaration affirms the common anti-fascist values of all of the former Yugoslavian nations, and avows our place among contemporary European societies through a commitment to the enactment of anti-facism as a basis for equality and normalization of human relations in the region.
This Declaration was initiated by:
Women in Black
Working Group “Four Faces of Omarska”
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia
Art Collective Grupa Spomenik (Monument Group)
Center for Women’s Studies
This Declaration is supported by:
Association of Concentration Camp Detainees in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Association of Concentration-camp Detainees “Prijedor 92”
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, 03.05.2011.