Member of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sefik Dzaferovic stated that Independence Day of Bosnia-Herzegovina is most certainly one of the most significant dates in the country’s history.
“In times when black clouds loomed over Bosnia-Herzegovina, and dark forces that attacked our country seeking to destroy it, the citizens rose to the occasion and on February 29 and March 1, 1992, to a referendum in accordance with the Constitution, the international laws, saying that they want independent Bosnia-Herzegovina, that they want freedom, they said no to oppression, to slavery and to the disintegration of Bosnia-Herzegovina,” Dzaferovic stated at a reception held in Presidency building on the occasion of the Independence Day of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
He underlined that this is something that does not happen often in the history of countries and that the referendum was a thing of tremendous significance.
Citizens of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina voted for the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the referendum that was held between 29 February and 1 March 1992. The referendum question was: “Are you in favor of a sovereign and independent Bosnia-Herzegovina, a state of equal citizens and nations of Bosniaks, Serbs, Croats and others who live in it?” Independence was strongly favoured by Bosniaks and Bosnian Croat voters, while Bosnian Serbs (except for those in larger cities) boycotted it or were prevented from participating by Bosnian Serb authorities. The total turnout of voters was 63.6% of which 99.7% voted for the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The results of the referendum were accepted on 6 March by the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On 7 April 1992, the European Community recognized Bosnia and Herzegovina as an independent state. The Parliament of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (the parliament of the Bosnian-Croat Federation) then made the decision on 28 February 1995 that 1 March be the Independence Day of Bosnia and Herzegovina and a national holiday. Two days later, on 1 March 1995, Independence Day was celebrated for the first time.
The Independence Day of Bosnia and Herzegovina is celebrated only in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, while Republika Srpska boycotts this holiday and celebrates its own Independence Day on 9 January. Milorad Dodik, former President of Republika Srpska, has claimed that Independence Day “is a holiday of the Bosnian people and we do not dispute it, but it is not a holiday celebrated in the RS”.