Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Korea

Remembering Srebrenica and working on reconciliation to understand, heal and move forward

12/07/2021 - 14:25
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The commemoration of the Srebrenica Genocide is a painful reminder of the need to stand up firmly and decisively for peace, human dignity and all values underpinning the European Union.


The EU marks and commemorates the 26th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. It is necessary to commemorate and work on reconciliation in order to understand, heal and move forward.

As stated by HRVP Borrell and Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi:

Serving justice and building a better society are the best ways of remembering those who were systematically and deliberately murdered. This is a necessary step to work for a better common future for all Europeans.”

The High Representative and the Commissioner addressed the responsibility of leadership in healing divisions:

Political leaders in the Western Balkans have to lead by example in acknowledging what happened, honouring the victims and genuinely promoting reconciliation by confronting the roots of hatred that led to the genocide.

On the issue genocide denial and revisionism of history, they said:

“There is no place in Europe for genocide denial, revisionism and glorification of war criminals, which contradict the most fundamental European values. Attempts to rewrite history are unacceptable.

The Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative Johann Sattler participated in the 11 July ceremony at the Srebrenica-Potočari Genocide Memorial.

On the evening before the ceremony, Ambassador Sattler met with representatives of the Srebrenica-Potočari Genocide Memorial and was invited to join the ‘Nino Catic Award’ event, during which journalists were recognised for their long-term reporting about the Srebrenica genocide.

Member State ambassadors and other EU representatives also met with local authorities, civil society organisations and international partners before and at the 11 July ceremony. During the ceremony, a video message of Commissioner Várhelyi was projected. President of the European Council Charles Michel also delivered a video message.

In the weeks before the 11 July, EU representatives engaged in debates and activities related to the commemoration. Together with UNESCO, the EU worked on the project Social Media for Peace, to counter disinformation and hate speech online. The EU followed with interest the launch of “Looking for Esmir”, a book about human stories of the people of Srebrenica before the tragic events.

High Representative/Vice-President wrote the blog: The Srebrenica genocide and the importance of reconciliation to move forward.

He referred to the EU-Bosnia and Herzegovina upcoming Council:

On 13 July, I will chair the EU–Bosnia and Herzegovina Stabilisation and Association Council. This will be the first meeting after three years. I look forward to our discussion on current challenges and way forward with the reforms needed to make the governance more effective, enhance the rule of law and unlock the economic potential.

And he concluded:

EU accession is a process, which demands responsibility, leadership and vision, and joint efforts by the whole of society. And while remembering Srebrenica, the European Union reiterates its firm commitment to support Bosnia and Herzegovina in overcoming the legacies of the past, facing facts and steering societies towards a better future. The history of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a part of common European history and the future of the country and of the whole Western Balkans lies in the European Union.”


Related links

BiH: Statement by High Representative Josep Borrell and Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi on the anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide

HRVP Blog: The Srebrenica genocide and the importance of reconciliation to move forward

Video Message by President of the European Council Charles Michel

Video Message by Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi


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