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UN - High-level Event

Date:

07/10/2020


UN - High-level Event

Statement delivered by Ambassador Stefano Stefanile, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations at the High level Event dedicated to Commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Genocide in Srebrenica. ---

 

Mr. President, Minister, dear colleagues,

Before Srebrenica, Europe hoped that it had left the worst atrocities behind, to the memory of its elderly and to the history books. After Srebrenica, we found ourselves brutally conscious that history can repeat itself, even in the heart of Europe.

Today we mourn the victims of those painful events. We stand close to those who lost their loved ones, and to the many families still waiting to find out the truth about their missing relatives. After 25 years,the silence on their whereabouts must be broken and the accountability of the perpetrators of those crimes must be pursued.

Srebrenica speaks not only about our past, but also about our future. We must learn from it to prevent these atrocities from happening again and to build upon the ruins and the deep divisions they left behind. A quarter of a century after Srebrenica and the Dayton Agreements, there is a still the need to talk about and to work for reconciliation, in Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as across the Western Balkans region.

Reconciliation comes, first of all, through the knowledge of the truth, a goal pursued with determination by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, that 16 years ago determined that a genocide had been committed in Srebrenica. It is only through the establishment of the truth, the respect for all victims and an open dialogue that social cohesion and reconciliation can be fully achieved.

We invite all political leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as in the region, to work together with a future-oriented attitude, by countering hate speech and incitement to violence, as well as by fully recognizing women’s role in leadership and decision making. We call on them to set aside their divisions and start building bridges and trust, in the country’s best interest and especially for the youngest generations.

The future for Bosnia and Herzegovina, as for all the Western Balkans countries, clearly lies in Europe. Italy will continue to stand by Bosnia and Herzegovina’s side, in its path towards the European Union. Advancing towards EU membership comes through reforms, but also and foremost through reconciliation.

Only by working hand in hand, will it be possible, for Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Western Balkans, to make peace with the painful legacy of the past and to build a peaceful future, where the whole region will be finally reunited to Europe.

Thank you.


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