UN chief underscores need for reconciliation 25 years after Srebrenica genocide

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UNITED NATIONS, July 9 (Xinhua) — Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina remains fragile 25 years after the Srebrenica genocide, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday.

In a video message marking the anniversary of the mass killing, Guterres paid tribute to the thousands of mainly Muslim men and boys murdered in July 1995 during the Balkan wars, and underscored the need for true reconciliation in the region.

“A quarter century ago, the United Nations and the international community failed the people of Srebrenica. As former Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, this failure will ‘haunt our history forever,'” he said.

“Confronting that past is a vital step towards rebuilding trust.”

Reconciliation, he said, must be underpinned by mutual empathy and understanding. It also means rejecting denial of genocide and war crimes, as well as efforts to glorify convicted war criminals.

The secretary-general called on people in the region and beyond to counter hate speech, divisive rhetoric, and narratives of mistrust and fear.

“On this somber anniversary, we are reminded that peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina is still fragile,” he said. “We cannot let up in working towards genuine reconciliation. We owe this to the victims of the Srebrenica genocide, the survivors, the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to all humanity.”

Some UN independent human rights experts have echoed the secretary-general’s message. They urged governments to honor the victims of the Srebrenica genocide by building peaceful, inclusive and just societies to prevent such atrocities from happening again. Enditem

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