May 31st, 2023 - 1:34pm

May 31, 2023

Statement on Worldwide White Armband Day

This year marks the 31st anniversary of the white armband decree where, on May 31st, 1992, in Prijedor, a town in north-western Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnian Serb authorities issued a decree ordering all non-Serbs to mark their houses with white sheets and to wear white armbands when leaving the house.

Eventually, over 3,176 people – 102 children among them – were killed in Prijedor during the Bosnian War. Almost 31,000 people – mostly relatives of those ordered to wear white armbands – were detained in prison camps and 53,000 were forced to flee from their homes. Survivors spoke of the horrific acts of torture, rape, and murder that were committed on a regular basis in these camps. For these crimes committed in Prijedor, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague has sentenced several Bosnian Serbs to decades in prison for their involvement and active participation in the advancement and continuation of these terrible and inhumane actions.

As part of an effort to keep alive the memories of the horrific atrocities committed in Prijedor during the war, residents of the town formed the Stop Genocide Denial Group in 2012 on the 20th anniversary and sought to bring about a greater awareness of Worldwide White Armband Day.

Today, Worldwide White Armband Day reminds us of the brutality of hatred and the human capacity for unspeakable cruelty against one another. We all have a duty and responsibility to ensure that the crimes of genocide and torture are permanently eradicated; that the victims of such crimes are remembered, and that its perpetrators are exposed and brought to justice. Fighting the denial of genocide is critical for this process. To further this effort, I will continue to collaborate with fellow Members of Parliament to pass a motion in the House of Commons to recognize Worldwide White Armband Day in Canada


Brian Masse

Member of Parliament (Windsor West)