Sunday

20th Jan 2019

Opinion

Three presidents should attend Bosnia memorial

  • Sarajevo's Eternal Flame, a Yugoslav symbol for those who fell in World War One, could serve as a model for Bosnia-Herzogovina's memorialisation of the 1990s war (Photo: WikiCommons)

The issue of internal reconciliation is still very delicate in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where, 23 years after the end of the war that burst out in 1992 and that left 101,000 dead, a common and reconciliatory approach to the past is still missing.

To date, no common commemoration of the victims of the different communities has ever been held, preventing society to step towards a joint sense of belonging to their past and to their suffering, and fastening each community to its own individual narrative of the past.

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Building a future together starts from making peace with the past, and from the shared belief that there must be no division, ambiguity or barricade when it comes to mourn the victims of such an atrocious conflict.

It is in the interest of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and of the whole international community, to encourage a common positive development to commemorate victims jointly at a moment when the future seems to be at the door.

EU Commission strategy

The European Commission strategy to bring the Western Balkans into the European Union within the next years is a powerful target that needs to be met solving disputes and advancing towards the construction of joint goals.

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the international community has invited the three members of the presidency to honour the 24 March jointly.

March 24 is UN International Day for the Right to Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for Dignity of Victims.

On the same day where initiatives across the world are held to commemorate victims of all faiths and to remind how senseless war is as a means to solve disputes, Bosnia-Herzegovina could make an important leap into the future if the three presidents would take part in the effort, organised under the auspices of the United Nations, the European Commission and the Italian chair of Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Proving a powerful message to all people in Bosnia-Herzegovina and setting an example across the region, two months away from the EU-Western Balkans summit that will take place in Sofia on 17 May, at a moment where the European Commission has unveiled its ambitious strategy to welcome the countries, would be paramount.

Integration and a credible unified perspective when it comes to building the future is the key driver of transformation in the country, that will enhance our collective prosperity and social well-being, bringing Bosnia closer to the status of candidate for the EU accession.

Antonia Battaglia was a UN officer in Kosovo, and is a researcher at the Centre for Political Theory of ULB University in Brussels, and author of a book on Kosovo, and writes for Balkan Insight

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