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Peacekeepers provide ‘safe havens’ in Bosnia

The Story

Royal 22nd Regiment peacekeepers seem fated to spearhead thankless and dangerous missions in the hotspots of the world. This time it is in war-torn Bosnia, in the former Yugoslavia. Their task: disarm and establish "safe havens" for tens of thousands of Muslim refugees in the besieged city of Srebrenica. But as we see in this clip, there's a problem: the refugees they are supposed to protect don't want them there.

Medium: Television
Program: Prime Time News
Broadcast Date: June 4, 1993
Guests: Maj. Christian Girard, Pierre Ollier
Reporter: Gillian Findlay
Duration: 5:18

Did You know?

• Bosnia and Herzegovina are located in Eastern Europe on the Adriatic Sea. Serious fighting began in the area when Croatia and Slovenia declared themselves separate from Yugoslavia in June 1991. Bosnian Serbs opposed the move, and responded with armed resistance in an effort to join all Serb-held lands into "greater Serbia." The United Nations got involved in September 1991.

• In March 1993, Bosnian Serb paramilitary units began attacking cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including Srebrenica. Many civilians were killed, and UN humanitarian relief efforts were disrupted. The UN reported that thousands of Muslims were seeking refuge in Srebrenica, and 30-40 were dying daily. The Serbs had been forcing civilians to leave the area as part of their "ethnic cleansing" campaign.

• On April 16, 1993, a UN resolution demanded the withdrawal of Bosnian Serb troops and declared Srebrenica and its surrounding area a "safe haven." On April 21, troops were deployed to the area to disarm the town. Safe havens were also established in Sarajevo, Tuzla, Zepa, Gorazde, Bihac.
• On June 4, 1993, the UN mandate was expanded, allowing troops including the Royal 22nd to protect the safe areas using military force if necessary.

• The Royal 22nd Regiment distinguished themselves earlier in the mission by successfully securing and reopening the Sarajevo airport in June and July of 1992. On Sept. 9, 2002, the 1st Battalion was recognized for this mission by being awarded the new Commander-in-Chief Commendation for performing a military deed of "a rare high standard in extremely hazardous circumstances."

• The commendation was presented by Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson at La Citadelle. The commendation reads: "while surrounded and being shot at by belligerents on all sides, this Battle Group steadfastly executed its missions, securing the Sarajevo airport for incoming humanitarian relief flights and escorting these relief conveys into the city."


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