Senate Introduces Bill to Establish a National Srebrenica Genocide Remembrance Day in the United States
October 16, 2023 – In remembrance of the Srebrenica Genocide, and the immense human tragedy it represents, the Congress of Bosniaks of North America (“CBNA”) is proud to support the Srebrenica Genocide Remembrance Act of 2023 (S. 2955). Designating July 11 as a National Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Srebrenica Genocide in the United States is a measure CBNA has diligently advocated for. This solemn occasion will serve as a collective reminder of the horrors of genocide fueled by hate, dehumanization and othering, and the importance of fostering peace, tolerance, and reconciliation worldwide through education and remembrance.
The Srebrenica Genocide, which was committed in July of 1995, by Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serb paramilitary forces with the support of Serbia, is one of the most painful chapters in recent history. During those harrowing days, more than 8,000 Bosniak Muslim men and boys were systematically murdered, along with countless Bosniaks who were forcibly displaced from their homes and Bosniak women who were raped. The international community must never forget the atrocities committed against Bosniak Muslims and the suffering endured by the survivors and their families. The international community ought to acknowledge and accept its share of responsibility for failing to stop the Srebrenica Genocide. First, the United Nations (“UN”) soldiers present in Bosnia and Herzegovina (“Bosnia”) failed to fulfill their mandate and protect Srebrenica along with five additional UN-designated “safe areas” across Bosnia, including Sarajevo, Žepa, Goražde, Tuzla, and Bihać. Second, the international community maintained a weapons embargo on Bosnia which took away the fundamental right of every citizen of Bosnia to self-defense and self-determination.
Establishing a National Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Srebrenica Genocide holds profound significance for the Bosniak-American community and the United States for numerous reasons, which include:
1. Honoring the Victims: Such a day provides a platform to pay homage to the innocent lives lost during the Srebrenica Genocide. It allows us to humanize the victims and remember their names, stories, and dreams, ensuring they are never relegated to mere statistics.
2. Promoting Tolerance and Reconciliation: This commemorative day will emphasize the importance of tolerance, multiculturalism, and reconciliation among diverse communities. It will educate on the consequences of hatred, intolerance, and the devastating effects of discrimination.
3. Educating and Raising Awareness: By recognizing this day nationally, we raise awareness about the Srebrenica Genocide, its historical context, and the lessons it holds for humanity particularly for the racially, religiously, and ethnically diverse United States of America. Education and remembrance are vital to preventing such horrors from happening again.
4. Advocating for Peace and Human Rights: A National Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Srebrenica Genocide underscores the commitment of our nation to peace, human rights, and justice for all, irrespective of their faith, race, or ethnicity. It reinforces the United States’ unwavering commitment to continue to fight against denial of the Srebrenica Genocide.
As such, the Congress of Bosniaks of North America calls upon all lawmakers to come together to pass the S. 2955, a bill that would designate July 11 as a National Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Srebrenica Genocide. By doing so, they will honor the innocent victims, support their families, support survivors, counter genocide denial, and take a step forward towards a world where such atrocities are never repeated.
To join this honorable cause and support the establishment of a National Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Srebrenica Genocide, please contact your Senator and ask them to vote “Yes” on S. 2955! You can find your Senator’s contact information by visiting this website.
Together, we can ensure that the memory of the victims of the Srebrenica Genocide lives on and serves as a constant reminder of our nation’s and the world’s shared responsibility to prevent genocide and crimes against humanity.