Dearest sisters and brothers, today we remember with love and respect the lives of Srebrenica’s beloved fathers, brothers, sons, those who will never be forgotten. Your loss 25 years ago is our loss, the world’s great loss, a crime against humanity beyond imagining.
I arrived not long after to meet and mourn with the mothers of Srebrenica, wives, sister and daughters of the disappeared. It was only then that I could begin to understand the magnitude of your horrendous loss. Over the past twenty years working with the International Commission on Missing Persons I’ve been privileged to witness, love and admire my sisters of Srebrenica. For your courage, dedication, compassion and steadfastness in the face of immense pressures. In our work with you and others to ensure that the victims of Srebrenica are found and identified, together we have opened the way for the perpetrators to face justice. Our Commission’s work has contributed to a long and thorough investigation that has made it possible to establish beyond any shadow of the doubt the facts about the genocide.
There are no moral grounds and there are no historical grounds for prevarication or denial. And in our meetings with the other grieving families across conflict lines you have lighted the way from the shadows of prejudices and hate to a more hopeful, promising and peaceful future for coming generations, inshallah. We have learned so much from you that is enabling us help others around the world suffering from the crime of enforced disappearance. In Syria, Iraq, Colombia and elsewhere families of the missing are finding in you an inspiration and courage. The holy Quran commends those who endure with fortitude, who in adversity say “we belong to God and to Him we shall return”.
The survivors of Srebrenica have endured the most painful adversity yet you hoop in steadfast. You’ve been steadfast in faith, compassion and in dignity. Today we remember those who perished and we stand with those who survived. We stand with them for truth, for justice and for peace. Salaam alaikum, peace be upon you.