Press Release Regarding the Srebrenica Massacre

 SEEDS BURIED IN THE SOIL

Aliya Izetbegovic, the first President of independent Bosnia and Herzegovina, said, “They buried us; but they did not know that we were seeds” was a demonstration that humanity could not be destroyed.

It has been 26 years since the massacre of more than 8 thousand Muslim Bosniaks citizens in Srebrenica. On 11 July 1995, civilian Bosniaks fleeing the Serbian attacks during the Yugoslavian civil war took refuge in Srebrenica, which was declared a "safe zone" by the United Nations. With the United Nations Peacekeeping Force soldiers handing over the civilians to the Serbian soldiers, one of the most painful events occurred in human history since World War II. Bosnians, who became completely defenseless by surrendering their weapons in the face of the promise of peace in this process, became the victim, witness and victim of a crime against humanity with the silence of the United Nations, which emphasizes the importance of the right to life at every opportunity.

In the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, signed by the United Nations and entered into force on January 12, 1951, it is stated that certain acts committed with the aim of destroying a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, in whole or in part, constitute the crime of genocide. The acts in question; killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, deliberate alteration of living conditions calculated to destroy the physical existence of the group in whole or in part, taking measures to prevent births within the group and forcibly transferring children belonging to the group to another group. Srebrenica has experienced the elements of the crime of genocide expressed in the Convention, which entered into force 44 years before the massacre took place. In addition, many difficulties were experienced together in Srebrenica, such as hunger due to the limited amount of food, worsening of hygienic conditions, epidemics, lack of medicine, lack of treatment, and increasing miscarriage rate in women.

Identification studies continue today for the Muslim Bosnians who were buried en masse as a result of the massacre, and funeral ceremonies are organized for those whose identity can be identified. There is no doubt that the massacre, which went down in history as a black mark, will not be erased from the memories as an incurable wound of humanity.The prohibition of discrimination on the basis of  race, color, religion, belief, language, sect, etc. is guaranteed in international contract texts and national legislation.However, the common goal of humanity should be to ensure that these texts are used as an effective tool to protect fundamental rights and freedoms. International organizations such as NATO, the European Union, the UN Security Council and international human rights institutions need to actively monitor the implementation of conventions prohibiting torture, genocide and racial discrimination in order to protect human dignity under all circumstances.

As the Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey, on behalf of our country and the whole world, we commemorate the 26th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre with great sadness. On this occasion, we wish God’s mercy on those who lost their lives in the massacre, and extend our sincere condolences and patience to their families and the people of Bosnia.


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