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UN human rights chief welcomes resolution to commemorate Srebrenica genocide

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published May 24,2024
(AA File Photo)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk welcomed on Thursday a resolution establishing an annual day to commemorate the 1995 Srebrenica genocide.

"This resolution is further recognition of the victims and survivors and their pursuit of justice, truth, and guarantees of non-recurrence. It is also an important step towards the promotion of a culture of remembrance and peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the region," Turk said.

The resolution, adopted earlier in the day by the UN General Assembly, designates July 11 as the International Day of Reflection and Commemoration of the 1995 Genocide in Srebrenica.

Maintaining that recent hate speech by politicians in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the wider region has underscored the urgency of dealing with the past, he added that "political leaders in the region have the responsibility to engage in a constructive dialogue to build peaceful societies where people can live safely and freely, without discrimination or fear of conflict and violence."

"I firmly stand against the denial of the genocide perpetrated in July 1995 in Srebrenica and of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed across Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1992-1995 conflict and other attempts to rewrite the history of these events painstakingly documented through the judicial process. I also firmly stand against the glorification of war criminals and against any form of hate speech and discrimination," he added.

Bosnian Muslims were killed in Srebrenica despite the presence of Dutch peacekeeping troops as Serb forces attempted to wrest the territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form a state.

The UN Security Council declared Srebrenica a "safe area" in the spring of 1993. But troops led by Gen. Ratko Mladic overran the UN zone. He was later found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Dutch troops failed to act as Serb forces occupied the area, killing 2,000 men and boys on July 11, 1995.

About 15,000 residents of Srebrenica fled to the surrounding mountains, but Serb troops hunted them down and killed 6,000 more people.

The bodies of victims have been found in 570 areas across the country.

In 2007, the International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled that a genocide had been committed in Srebrenica.