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Statements Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Comment by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet on the 25th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica 11 July 2020

10 July 2020

"This year we mark the 25th anniversary of an immense human tragedy. We also mark the 25-year long journey to obtain recognition, justice and reparation for the victims of the Srebrenica genocide and other crimes against humanity recognised by international tribunals.

This commemoration underscores the importance of peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and reminds us of its fragility. Main architects of some of the worst atrocities have faced justice --  a process that continues. But more remains to be done to ensure accountability, provide remedies to victims, and promote healing and reconciliation. The United Nations and Member States have a critical role to ensure that international human rights standards are upheld.

Challenges persist. The scars are deep. The memories are still painful. A new national narrative is needed going forward, based on empathy, mutual respect and support for victims and survivors, as well as the need for all to confront their own responsibilities.  Dealing with the past requires addressing the present and is the only way of building a better future.

Genocide denial, the glorification of convicted war criminals and other revisionist narratives that deny truth and history are forms of hate speech, and should be treated as such by legislators.

The peoples of the Western Balkans have suffered unbearably from conflicts generated by the stoking of hatred for political gain. Reconciliation must be tangible pursued with concrete action and  renewed urgency. All those who suffered, were killed or lost loved ones in Srebrenica and in the Balkan conflicts deserve no less." 


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