Numerous citizens and officials marked Bosnia’s Statehood Day on Thursday, mostly in Bosnia’s Federation (FBiH) entity, but also in the eastern town of Srebrenica, which is located in the Serb-majority Republika Srpska (RS) entity.
Officials of all government levels, as well as members of the Association of Anti-Fascists and Veterans of the National Liberation War (SABNOR) and other associations of veterans, gathered at the ‘Eternal Flame’ in downtown Sarajevo, a memorial dedicated to the victims of WWII.
Among them were two of Bosnia’s three Presidency members, Bosniak Sefik Dzaferovic and Bosnian Croat Zeljko Komsic.
The two also laid wreaths at the grave of the first president of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Alija Izetbegovic.
Statehood Day is being observed this year amid a major political crisis which many analysts say represents a danger to the very existence of BiH.
“Unfortunately, there are always some tensions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The fact is that they are now of the strongest intensity,” Komsic told the Anadolu Agency.
“This is a great day for Bosnia and Herzegovina and this day should always be remembered for what it meant in all this historical continuity,” he said.
Referring to the political crisis, Komsic said that experience has shown that “Bosnia and Herzegovina will continue to exist as long as we believe in it” and that there are more people who do believe in BiH than those who do not.
“So, we will overcome this crisis and everything that is happening. Unfortunately, we will waste time and energy. Instead of dedicating ourselves to other and smarter things, we have to deal with this crisis, which is currently political, and I hope that it will remain only political,” Komsic stressed.
BiH Statehood Day is not an official holiday in the semi-autonomous RS entity.
In Srebrenica, however, about 100 children paraded through the city and released balloons in the colours of the Bosnian flag to mark the holiday.
Locals also laid wreaths at the Srebrenica – Potocari Memorial Centre and prayed for the victims of the 1995 genocide.
On November 25 in 1943, the ZAVNOBiH antifascist liberation movement convened in its first session and passed a decision to restore the country's statehood within its historic borders, which is marked today as the Statehood Day of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bosnia restored its statehood as one of six Yugoslav republics after the liberation in 1945 and was assigned with its own flag and the coat of arms.
The historic decision was confirmed a few days later at the first session of the Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia (AVNOJ).
Bosnia and Herzegovina was defined as an integral and indivisible country where all peoples would be entitled to equal rights. The ZAVNOBiH's decision was endorsed by 247 councillors, representing all peoples.