Fourth Annual Bosnian Women’s Day on Capitol Hill

On April 16, 2012 ACBH along with Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) hosted the Fourth Annual Bosnian Women's Day on Capitol Hill. The event celebrated the courage of women with a special emphasis on the challenges women survivors face 20 years after the end of the Bosnian war. The event also commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Siege of Sarajevo – the longest siege in modern day history where 11, 541 civilians died as a result of the war of aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).  

Congresswoman Johnson gave opening remarks and stated that her interest in Bosnia and Herzegovina stemmed from her travels to the region following the Bosnian War. During her time there, she encouraged women to be a part of peace negotiations and for negotiators to provide protections for women during the drafting of the constitution. Congressional Caucus on Bosnia Co-Chair, Congressman Russ Carnahan (D-MO) also came to commemorate the victims of the Siege of Sarajevo in solidarity with the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and pay his respects to the strong women of Bosnia who continue to face struggles after the war.


Elizabeth Sullivan, Senior Policy Advisor for European Affairs spoke about the Office of Global Women's Issues at the U.S. Department of State and how under the leadership of Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues Melanne Verveer, they seek to ensure that women's issues are fully integrated in the formulation and conduct of U.S. foreign policy. Ms. Sullivan mentioned that women's issues are typically not at the forefront of foreign policy but that women are more likely to work across ethnic lines and political spectrums and that their role is essential in promoting stability, peace, and development around the world.   


Lastly, Dr. Edina Becirevic, Fulbright Visiting Fellow, Yale University and the author of two books, Genocide on the Drina River and International Criminal Court: Between Ideas and Reality extended her gratitude to Congresswoman Johnson and all members of the Congressional Caucus on Bosnia for their steadfast support over the years. Dr. Becirevic spoke about the prevalence of genocide denial in Bosnia even 20 years after the end of the conflict and the international community's adoption of non-functional solutions based on ethnic rather than civic values, not only for Bosnia and Herzegovina, but for the wider region as well. "After World War II, the Allies had made it impossible for German political elites – as well as for ordinary Germans – to deny the Holocaust; but the denial of genocide in Bosnia became a norm for both Serb political and intellectual elites and ordinary Serbs alike," Dr. Becirevic said.