Čuvari Omarske / Guardians of Omarska

"One does not live here in order to live. One does not live here in order to die. One also dies here in order to live. --- "Ovdje se ne živi samo da bi se živjelo. Ovdje se ne živi samo da bi se umrlo. Ovdje se i umire da bi se živjelo." Mak Dizdar

Lijepa nasa Bosna – Our beautiful Bosnia!

Mission Statement:

The deteriorating situation in regards to the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the Prijedor Municipality is of serious concern to us. Over the years, returnees and survivors have faced a number of challenges, but their troubles have reached a pivotal point this year. They are still struggling to have their voices heard by political leaders, who often engage in outright denial of crimes committed in the area. Recently, local authorities have started denying access to the sites where crimes have been committed and have moved to forbid use of the term genocide to characterize the extent of crimes committed in the Prijedor area.

The case in point is the continuous denial of access to the former, notorious concentration camp Omarska where approximately 3,334 inmates have been held captive, tortured and killed. The evidence of torture and killings of detainees at Omarska, collected by the UN, led to the establishment of the first international war crimes court since Nuremberg and Tokyo, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. There is still no memorial at the site of Omarska.

Memorials help victims achieve acknowledgment of their suffering by the wider community. They help communities come to terms with a tragedy , reaffirm a sense of community and provide an opportunity for catharsis. Therefore, one of our goals is to advocate for the building of a memorial at Omarska.

The Annex 7 of the Dayton Peace Accords guarantees all returnees and survivors the right to a safe home without harassment, intimidation, persecution, or discrimination, particularly on account of their ethnic origin, religious belief, or political opinion. At the same time, it accentuates and guarantees the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms which include the prevention and prompt suppression of any written or verbal incitement, through media or otherwise of ethnic or religious hostility by public officials.

In our efforts to address the key issues that the returnees and survivors are facing in Prijedor today, we - former inmates, survivors and returnees, have formed the Guardians of Omarska. The Guardians of Omarska aims to work on the educational and legal aspects of these issues as well as raise awareness of the human rights abuses before the situation escalates any further. The goal is to do all of this in cooperation with local NGO’s and anyone who is interested in cooperating.

To this end:

• We ask our members to share their stories, photos or any documents that they think are relevant to disseminating information about Omarska and other concentration camps including Trnopolje and Keraterm;
• We will continue to establish further contacts with local and international NGOs to work on our joint efforts;
• We will send letters informing local and international authorities about this issue, write articles for newspapers and letters to editors, launch petitions etc.
• We will support local and international NGOS and relevant actors who are working on this issue.

Our members are more than welcome to join us in our efforts with their contacts, ideas and initiatives. We welcome contributions such as assistance with translation and/or drafting of documents, letters or articles.

Simple group bylaws which we hope will be respected!

• Posts and comments should be related to the mission of the group.
• Posts and comments should be of educational nature.
• A post provoking a discussion which has a pro and con side will not be deleted by the administrators given that this is an open group; if the person who posted the original comment does not agree with the discussion than he/she should delete the original post.
This should be a place to give feedback or start a conversation about issues on the site, or to have brief conversations with each other on our page. We ask that you put some thought into your posts, and that you follow commenting rules and guidelines. Failure to comply with these rules may result in a ban from the group, as well as removal of posts.
• We kindly ask our members to refrain from inappropriate language. Writing hostile or insulting messages or comments aimed at other users for their views, ethnic or national background will not be tolerated. You can disagree with someone's views and still be polite about it. Any such post can be removed without warning.
• The goal is to have a constructive dialogue which will disseminate information about crimes committed in Omarska, Trnopolje, Keraterm and other concentration camps.