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Secretary-General's video message in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina

11 Jul 2020

The Srebrenica genocide was the worst atrocity crime on European soil since the Second World War.

Twenty-five years later, we pay tribute to the thousands brutally murdered — and pledge to never forget them.

We share the grief of their families, including those whose family members are still missing.

And we re-affirm our solidarity with the survivors.

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”.

Confronting that past is a vital step towards rebuilding trust.

Reconciliation must be underpinned by mutual empathy and understanding.

Reconciliation means rejecting denial of genocide and war crimes and of any effort to glorify convicted war criminals.

It also means recognizing the suffering of all victims and not attributing collective guilt.

That is why I call on everyone in the region and beyond to counter hate speech and the rhetoric of division and narratives of mistrust and fear. 

All communities, all leaders and all organizations — including the media — must make this pledge.

All citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina deserve the unwavering commitment of their leaders to work towards an environment of mutual respect without discrimination, hatred or incitement to violence.

On this somber anniversary, we are reminded that peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina is still fragile.

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.

Thank you.