On Human Rights Day, an online conference was held in the organization of the Srebrenica Memorial Center called Human Rights of Survivors: Genocide Denial as a Tool for Defamation.
We, members of the Srebrenica Leadership Initiative, are determined to direct our knowledge, experience, partnerships, and capacities towards supporting the fight against genocide denial, protecting the culture of remembrance of genocide victims, and public advocacy against the impunity of crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity. On this important date for all of humanity, Human Rights Day, it is urgent that we address the continuation of genocide denial in the Balkan region. At the same time we support the growth and development of the Srebrenica Memorial Center.
Brought together at the suggestion of Zlatko Lagumdžija, based on the idea of the team of the Srebrenica Memorial Center and the project "Truth, Dialogue, Future" supported by the Government of the United Kingdom, we adopt this
SREBRENICA LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE
As members of the Srebrenica Leadership Initiative – an informal group of former and current state officials and academic and civil society leaders, we want to act on:
- Combating the denial of the Srebrenica genocide: We must put effort into raising awareness about the denial of genocide and other crimes against humanity, especially at a time where defamation and discrimination is argued as freedom of expression and/or political opinion. Denial has, as foreseen, been a cornerstone for political action that has lead to further division in Bosnia and Herzegovina - its prohibition even being a trigger for institutional blockades and threats of decisions that could possibly lead to violence. On Human Rights Day, we are dedicated to speaking out on this issue and sharing the experience of firstly genocide survivors, but all those affected by the revisionist policies. Using our expertise, experience and status in society, we will use every relevant opportunity to advocate for combating genocide denial and revisionist rhetoric.
- Protection of the culture of remembrance of the genocide in Srebrenica: We express our readiness to support and advocate various support mechanisms that will contribute to scientific research, artistic, media and other activities that contribute to the protection of the memory of the genocide in Srebrenica.
- Support to the work and activities of the Srebrenica Memorial Center: We are determined to give our advice, recommendations and comments, and to actively participate in the activities of the Memorial Center, as an institution established by the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina and a fundamental research site for genocide and crimes against humanity. Our involvement in public events and activities of the Memorial Center is a priority at this moment and we will offer our guidance and opinions as needed. It is important for us to speak on Human Rights Day at this event, where human rights were and are being challenged and violated.
- Contribution to public advocacy in the fight against impunity for the crime of genocide and crimes against humanity: Together with the Srebrenica Memorial Center we want to be those who will use the lessons learned from Srebrenica to prevent potential new genocides and crimes against humanity. Together we want to raise alarm of situations where there is a risk of war crimes against humanity and genocide. At the same time we want to advocate for everything that will contribute to the punishment of perpetrators and the recognition of previously committed crimes against humanity and genocide, guided by the judgments of international courts.
- Supporting new generations of young people, especially in eastern Bosnia, those in building communities of the future and a society of shared values. We consider it necessary to contribute to peace building, interethnic and interreligious dialogue, and creating opportunities through the Srebrenica Leadership Initiative for future generations, those who have returned to their homes and who see their future here. Due to the current political climate in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is more important than ever to offer them support.
We are committed to providing all available resources, our own participation in expanding the network of members of the Srebrenica Leadership Initiative, and the scheduled organization of the annual meetings of the Srebrenica Leadership Initiative - especially every July, before the Srebrenica Genocide Remembrance Day. It is our duty to uphold the values and laws of human rights not only on Human Rights Day, but also the future.
We also undertake to communicate with the Srebrenica Memorial Center, to constantly coordinate joint activities and actions at the global level, and also through initiatives in various regions and countries, primarily in order to meet the goals set out in this statement.
For those we have been lost, for those yet to come, for those of us responsible for a better today and a better tomorrow for new generations: Let Srebrenica be a place of lessons learned, let Srebrenica be a gathering point for civilization in the fight against genocide and crimes against humanity.
Srebrenica, 10th of December 2021
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