Give victims access to Omarska concentration camp Arcelor Mittal purchased.
  • Petitioned Arcelor Mittal, a UK-based company, the largest steel producer in the world

This petition was delivered to:

Arcelor Mittal, a UK-based company, the largest steel producer in the world

Give victims access to Omarska concentration camp Arcelor Mittal purchased.

    1. Refik Hodzic
    2. Petition by

      Refik Hodzic

      New York, NY

As ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel company, invests 19.2 million pounds of steel to construct a monument marking London’s Olympic Games, they are refusing to memorialize a former concentration camp in Bosnia they own today. Not only is ArcelorMittal unwilling to provide even a fraction of the cost of the London “Orbit” to commemorate the suffering of Bosnians in the notorious Omarska camp, but it has recently started denying victims access to the site.

Omarska, an iron ore mine outside Prijedor in northwestern Bosnia, was used by Bosnian Serbs to detain and torture more than 5,000 Bosnians in the summer of 1992. The evidence of torture and killings of detainees at Omarska, collected by a UN commission of experts, led to the establishment of the first international war crimes court since Nuremberg and Tokyo, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Worried by possible negative publicity, however, Mittal reached an agreement with camp survivors that certain buildings at the Omarska complex would remain untouched and accessible to victims and their families. The agreement was followed by a promise that a memorial would be built on the site and financed by Mittal. This was in 2005.

Since then, Mittal (now ArcelorMittal) reneged on its commitment to finance the building of the memorial. In February 2006 Mittal issued a statement saying they are ‘temporarily suspending’ the Omarska memorial project. However, not only has the company frozen the development of the memorial to which it had committed, but in the last several weeks it has gone one step further—it started denying access to the site to victims citing “safety concerns”, giving them an option to visit the camp on a handful of dates Arcelor Mittal determines.

As if the reckoning with the troubled past was not hard enough for the fragile Bosnian society, we now have a private corporation denying victims the right to the memory of one of the most painful and notorious crimes committed during the conflict. This is a disturbing and alarming development, especially as it comes from a company whose steel Orbit towers over London proclaiming a supposed message of corporate responsibility.

For more information go to: http://ictj.org/news/shadow-london-%E2%80%9Corbit%E2%80%9D-bosnia-steel-blood-and-suppression-memory

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 2,500 signatures
    2. The Independent - Omarska: The dark side of the Olympics “Orbit”

      Refik Hodzic
      Petition Organizer

      The Independent published an extensive article on ArcelorMIttal's conduct in Omarska. Please share and comment on the link below.

    3. International Coalition of SItes of Conscience supports our petition!

      Refik Hodzic
      Petition Organizer

      The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience advocates for such sites of memory to serve as powerful tools in truth-telling and to foster dialogue connecting past and present toward the goal of ‘never again’. These sites help victims achieve acknowledgment of their suffering to engage the wider community in making change for the future. The absence of dialogue about Omarska, exeplified by the denial of access to survivors, demonstrates how refusal to deal with the past can widen existing rifts between communities and create new ones.

      Turn memory into action. Lend your voice in the struggle to overcome Bosnia’s difficult past for a more peaceful future for all Bosnians. Sign the petition to demand that ArcelorMittal grant access to Omarska Camp for all survivors and victims.

    4. Reached 1,000 signatures
    5. Mittal prevents victims from laying a wreath at Omarska to mark 9 May

      Refik Hodzic
      Petition Organizer

      The management of ArcelorMittal today prevented former Omarska inmates from laying flowers at the gate of the site of the camp to mark the Victory Day, which is also marked as a Day of Camp Inmates in Bosnia. Edin Ramulic, a member of the delegation, described the ugly scene in which the Mittal guards threatened and insulted a group of relativesof those who were killed in Omarska. “They did not even allow us to leave the flowers at the gate, threatening us with the police. We understand the cold heart and behaviour of the Mittal management, but these are our neighbours, they know what happened in Omarska.” At the same time, ArcelorMittal sent me a letter to justify the denial of access. It was written in response to the petition, which clearly shows that our action is working. Although it amounts to not more than a spin-doctored list of excuses, I will publish the content and my response on my Facebook page.

      Click below for the full report on today's events (in Bosnian).

    6. Reached 750 signatures
    7. Guardian hails MIttal's 'Orbit', no mention of Omarska. Let's change that!

      Refik Hodzic
      Petition Organizer

      Dear friends,
      Allow me thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting this petition. We collected over 700 signatures from all continents and the list of signatories is growing steadily. I would like to suggest that we now focus our efforts on the public opinion in UK and specifically London. The Guardian has just published a long positive piece on MIttal's 'Orbit', together with a time lapse film of its construction (see attached link). At the same time, Guardian declined to consider publishing ICTJ's op-ed on MIttal's treatment of Omarska victims in the 'Comment is Free' section. I believe that this is a perfect moment to address Guardian with letters to the editor and comment on the article itself to raise the issue of Omarska. In addition, please reach out to any and all UK and European journalists you may know and pitch the story. I am more than happy to act as a point of contact and give them information and contacts in Prijedor.
      Let's take this fight to London!
      Refik

    8. Reached 500 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Andrew Catterton EAST MORICHES, NY
      • about 2 years ago

      This camp was the most brutal of the system of camps run by the Bosnian-Serb army and Serb paramilitaries. You have Omarska, Trnplje, Keraterm, Uzamnica and other detention facilities. Something has to symbolize the tens of thousands who died in these camps as people were moved in and out.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Andrew Catterton EAST MORICHES, NY
      • about 2 years ago

      The history of Omarska, Trnplje, Keraterm, Uzamnica should never be forgotten and the tens of thousands lost and detained brutally. Do not deny genocide and let the Republika Srpska intimidate you. I will not purchase anything maufactured by your company and will spread this word if you continue with this disgrace.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Mohammad Hussain AIZAWL, MIZORAM, INDIA
      • about 2 years ago

      Because this act of ArcelorMittal is more than inhuman. He should also be brought before the International Crime Tribunal. Mr Mittal may be one of the weathiest people in the world, but he has the proorest heart in his body.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • John Richardson FEDERAL WAY, WA
      • about 2 years ago

      The horrific atrocities that were committed in this area should never be forgotten. It is the human rights of the survivors and their families to be able to walk the grounds.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Aline Cateux LYON, FRANCE
      • about 2 years ago

      It's important for the families of the victims in their process of healing, it's important for humanity, it's important for justice (as the Hague, the relevant institution for international justice seems not to want to do its work properly).

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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