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25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide: UK statement

UK statement delivered by Ambassador Neil Bush about the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide at the OSCE Permanent Council.

Twenty-five years ago, over 8,000 mainly Muslim men and boys lost their lives in Srebrenica. Tens of thousands more were forcibly expelled from their homes. We must reflect and learn from this. We must ensure that such horrific crimes never happen again. We owe it to the victims to remember what happened in Srebrenica and we think of their families and their unimaginable suffering. We also think of their strength and bravery as they fight for justice. The UK will continue to stand with them.

We also remember the victims on all sides of the conflicts of the 1990s, and that people from across the region are still missing loved ones, communities are still divided, and they are still pursing justice.

As we mark this anniversary, it is extremely worrying to see the prevalence of revisionist rhetoric. This includes denial of war crimes and other atrocities. We are clear that what took place at Srebrenica was genocide. We stand by the verdicts of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and International Court of Justice in this definition.

In 2018, leaders of the Western Balkans signed three joint declarations at the Western Balkans Summit in London. These were landmark declarations, and they underlined the importance of identifying missing persons, bringing perpetrators to justice, and rejecting hate speech and the glorification of war criminals. The leaders also agreed that the verdicts from international and domestic courts must be respected.

We owe it to all those who lost their lives in the conflicts to work to overcome the legacies of the past, to achieve reconciliation, and to build a positive future for the people in the region.


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