Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, welcomed the joint Muslim-Jewish observance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Bosnia and Herzegovina, calling it a “beacon of hope at a time when divisions often seem insurmountable”.
“This commitment to fostering partnerships and meaningful dialogue is a powerful testament to the strength that lies in unity”, Mijatovic said about the commemorative event, which is taking take place at the Srebrenica Memorial Center in Potocari on Saturday.
“We are witnessing a disturbing rise in acts of violence, hate speech, discrimination and incitement to hatred based on religion or belief. Mosques, synagogues and other religious places, as well as private homes, have been targeted and vandalised. Across Europe, the rise in anti-Muslim and antisemitic incidents is a reminder of a dark past and a stark warning of the challenges ahead”, Mijatovic said.
“These acts run counter to the basic principles of pluralism, respect and openness to which we are all bound, and which have been upheld by the European Court of Human Rights. We must remember our duty to act decisively against hate speech, incitement to religious violence and discrimination. It is our collective responsibility to create conditions conducive to remembering and commemorating the victims of past genocides and fighting all manifestations of antisemitism, anti-Muslim hatred and forms of ethnic or religious intolerance”, she added.
At the event in Potocari, the “Muslim-Jewish Peace Initiative” was presented with the goal to promote mutual understanding and dialogue between the Jewish and Muslim communities. The initiative was signed by the head of BiH’s Islamic Community Husein Kavazovic and the president of the World Federation of Bergen-Belsen Associations Menachem Z. Rosensaft.
Among those present were also Munira Subasic, president of the Association “Movement of Mothers of the Enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa” and Jakob Finci, head of the Jewish Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
According to Mijatovic, the commemoration in Potocari is “a light in the darkness” that she hopes will “inspire others to join and further these important efforts”.