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The 1st of March, 1992 is a groundbreaking historical moment for contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina as it confirms Bosnian statehood – including its legal, political and social endurance and elevation. This is a historical fact that has been proven scientifically and socially. The fact of Bosnian independence has been politically established. The referendum confirmed Bosnian statehood, independence and self-determination, as expressed by the majority of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This historical date and historical, legal, and scientific fact has not been accepted by Bosnia’s smaller entity. However, the relevance of this historical date far exceeds the anti-Bosnian rhetoric that is displayed daily. The historical fact is that on that day, Bosnia and Herzegovina became a member of the international community, as the internationally recognized 177th member of the UN. This is an undeniable truth with which those aligned with anti-Bosnian politics must reckon with, because this legal reality is indisputable.

The referendum created the conditions for the international recognition of state sovereignty and the political independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina – for its sovereignty, territorial integrity and statehood, legal and political continuity. This allows for the existence of Bosnia’s tremendous values – the notion of Bosnia and the Bosnian spirit. And it’s these very values – which have been the foundation of Bosnia for hundreds of years and have been formed by Bosnian history, tradition, culture – that were subject to aggression and genocide immediately after the country was recognized internationally.

The strategy of aggressive genocidal evil struck at the symbol of Bosnian continuity and exaltation, and at those who safeguard Bosnian culture. This cannot and will not be forgotten. This must and will be remembered in the name of Bosnian values. A renewal of faith in these values is the strategic goal of all those who respect the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Only a free man, a citizen, through his internal energy, can be led towards this faith. But Bosnia and Herzegovina still has no governmental guarantees for its freedom. Where there is fear, there is no freedom. Where one cannot speak one’s own mother tongue, there is no democracy, human rights or freedom. While Bosnia is being persecuted because of its values, while it is still searching for truth and justice, while Bosnia is still counting its dead and searching for its missing in honour of all those who have recognized the importance of the independence and sovereignty of this country and cast their vote for independence and for the future – we are obligated to build a democratic, unified state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, we have an obligation to celebrate Independence Day, and we are obligated to fight the strategies and ideology of evil.

Those who respect the unique, sovereign, independent, and democratic Bosnia and Herzegovina, those who acknowledge the historical results of the referendum of 1992, those who acknowledge the scientifically verified fact that B & H was then recognized as an independent state, should feel honoured because of the historical fact that they belong to the generation of the founders of the independent state of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

With regards to those who deny these facts: we will not plead with them, but rather send them the message that Independence Day will forever remain a symbol of the Bosnian state.

Institute for Research of Genocide Canada