Prijedor is a town located in northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina. On April 30, 1992, Serb forces took control of the municipality removing the non-Serbs, Muslims and Bosnian Croats from positions of responsibility. Many lost their employment, their children were prevented from going to school, and radios broadcast anti-Muslim and anti-Croat propaganda. Having taken over the municipal government by force, Bosnian Serb authorities issued a decree on local radio ordering all non-Serb citizens to mark their houses with white flags or bedsheets and to wear white armbands when leaving the house. This was the beginning of the campaign of extermination of the non-Serb population in Prijedor, which resulted in the ethnic cleansing of 94% of the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat population from the Prijedor municipality. After the takeover, thousands of non-Serb civilians were confined in the Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje concentration camps.
Both male and female prisoners were subjected to severe mistreatment, which included beatings, rape, sexual assaults, torture, and executions as well as harassment, humiliation, and psychological abuse. The establishment of these camps was a result of intentional discrimination against the non-Serb population, part of a plan to expel non-Serbs from the Prijedor municipality.
White Armband Day
White Armband Day is a day of remembrance of the events that took place from May 31, 1992, in the region of Prijedor municipality. On that day a directive, issued by the forcefully imposed Serb authorities, instructed non-Serb population, mainly Bosniaks and Croats, to display white sheets on their homes and to carry white armbands in all public spaces. This fascist campaign, equal in brutality to the campaign against the Jews during World War 2, was an introduction into the ethnic cleansing of the non-Serb population and the genocide against Bosniaks in Prijedor area.
The extent of this religious and national intolerance is best illustrated by the fact that during three and a half years 3176 people were killed in Prijedor and surrounding areas. Tens of thousands went through the concentration camps (Omarska, Trnopolje, and Keraterm) in which acts of mass executions, crimes of rape, different forms of torture, and crimes against humanity were exercised. Also, 102 children younger than 18 years of age were killed in Prijedor. White Armband Day is being commemorated in numerous cities in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as in numerous cities worldwide.
Place: Prijedor, White Armband Day, BiH
Researchers: Marina Gržinić, Sefik Tatlić
Filming: Valerija Zabret
Editing: Marina Gržinić, Valerija Zabret