Srebrenica Memorial Center prepares educational programs for the implementation of UN GA Resolution

SARAJEVO, April 15 (FENA) – The Srebrenica Memorial Center today presented the final text of the Proposal for an Approach to the Study of the Bosnian Genocide in the Education of Children and Youth, which is fully adapted to primary and secondary school students, and to the international context. The document follows the intentions of the proponents of the draft resolution of the UN General Assembly on the genocide in Srebrenica so that it could be used for the implementation of UN recommendations in the future.

The goal of the Memorial Center is to make the UN Resolution an operational document that will initiate important processes toward the education of new generations around the world.

“The document represents the result of two years of work of the Working Group of the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial  Center and the Cemetery for the Victims of Genocide from 1995, which brings together experts from various fields. Through their experience and knowledge, these practitioners tried to formulate an approach to the topic of studying the genocide against the Bosniaks of the “UN Safe Area” Srebrenica (Bosnian genocide) adapted to the age of students of primary and secondary schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said the director of the Srebrenica Memorial Center Emir Suljagić.

He pointed out that the goal of this document is to offer answers to important questions from practice, to share the experiences of the curators and employees of the Memorial Center, and to make the topic close to the understandings, knowledge and perspectives of new generations.

“Through this document, the Memorial Center formulates and presents its official position regarding the inclusion of the topic of genocide in Srebrenica in various aspects of the official curricula and programs in the educational system of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as international programs. This tool follows the guidelines of the Draft Resolution of the UN General Assembly on the genocide in Srebrenica so that we can readily await the implementation of the conclusions of the Resolution upon their adoption,” said Suljagić.

The working group expressed its gratitude to the Government of the United Kingdom for supporting the “Truth, Dialogue, Future” project, within which this document was created as one of the project activities.

“A special attention in the creation of the Document is aimed at making the study of genocide inclusive and involving young people regardless of their ethnic or religious affiliation, so that the lessons from Srebrenica are not the basis for hatred and intolerance, but rather serve to raise awareness among generations about what comes as a result of bigotry, exclusion and dehumanization.

The mothers of Srebrenica paid homage to the victims of Jasenovac, visited the killing grounds of Jews, Roma, Serbs and Croats in the country and around the world.

That act of theirs reminded us that there are no sacrifices that are worth less. Likewise, it is important that our children learn about what has so quickly emerged from a society that on the surface looked like ‘healthy and normal’.

On the example of Srebrenica, the children of Bosnia and Herzegovina should learn to recognize the signs of hatred and intolerance that can so easily and quickly lead to concentration camps, massacres and genocide. After the adoption of the UN Resolution, we will be able to transfer this knowledge to the mechanisms of the United Nations and share it globally,” added Suljagić.

The guidelines are also aimed at adequately communicating the matter to young people from the Serb community, so in the teaching materials, special attention is paid to understanding the difference between the perpetrators of genocide, who belonged to the military and political structures of Republika Srpska and Serbia, and all other citizens of Serb ethnicity – in order to ensure that students and young people from this community do not feel that learning about the genocide against Bosniaks in Srebrenica is directed against them or their family members (in this way, we ensure that they are not discouraged from researching the genocide),” the Srebrenica Memorial Center stated.

“This is an example of how you can talk about the facts and not manipulate the victims and not create a new wave of hatred. This is precisely what the spirit of the UN Resolution carries, and I am convinced that with the diligent and round-the-clock work of Ambassador Zlatko Lagumdžija, with the strong commitment of the members of the BiH Presidency Denis Bećirović and Željko Komšić, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Elmedin Konaković and the Minister of Human Rights and Refugees Sevlid Hurtić, and friendly UN member states, we can make a valuable step towards global recognition – not only of the genocide in Srebrenica but also towards taking over the approach that Bosnia and Herzegovina through the Mothers of Srebrenica and the Srebrenica Memorial Center has had in the fight for justice,” concluded Suljagić.

The Srebrenica Memorial Center has already announced the implementation of new joint activities with the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, after the successful realization of the Srebrenica Volunteers Program in cooperation with UNDP and UNHCR last year.