LONDON: World leaders pledge to lay foundations for a new “Dayton Acccord”, 25 years after the original Dayton Conference brought an end to the Bosnian War.
World leaders and public figures including Turkish President Recap Tayyip Erdogan, Malaysian PM Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, ex-member of presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bakir Izetbegovic, and grandson of Nelson Mandela amongst others came together for a digital summit titled “Genocide: We said never again” aimed to explore root causes of genocide, and practical steps to ensure it is not repeated.
The summit highlighted testimonies from survivors of 1994 Tutsi and the Srebrencia genocide of 1994.
In his address, Erdogan said Europeans Muslims are facing systematic discrimination as their rights and liberties are being usurped. “It is time to say ‘stop’ to this state of affairs and actions that threaten the future of humanity as well as the ethos of coexistence between different faiths and cultures.”
The Turkish leader stressed on the need to put up a fight against the “anti-Muslim sentiment” prevalent today, similar to the battled waged against anti-Semitism in the wake of Holocaust.
Izetbegovic reflected on the progress made so far. “Twenty five years ago, my father, Alija signed the Dayton Accords. Whilst that was an historic achievement, bringing to an end the war in Bosnia and the horrors of the Srebrenica genocide, regrettably we have seen similar things happening time and again in other parts of the world ever since.”
The Bosnian leader urged focus on “preventative measures for tackling division and actively combating spread of hatred and intolerance”.
“The time is right for a new generation to say, loudly and clearly, ‘Never again’. The summit is timely,” said the Bosnian leader.
“Lessons from the genocides of yesterday cannot be effective deterrents if we are blind to the discrimination of today,” said authour and activisit Ilyasah Shabazz who is a daughter of Malcolm X.
“If our language is filled with hate and intolerance; if our actions seek to serve our own livelihoods at the expense of our neighbours; and if our purpose is to seek individual freedom before our collective liberation, then we can rest assured that our pledges of ‘never again’ will ultimately fail.”
Read more: Bosnian Muslims mark 25 years of Srebrenica massacre
Mandela’s grandson, Mandla, said the leaders had gathered to “reflect upon and learn from the lessons of genocide”.
“This assault on human dignity is a serious blight upon our collective consciousness,” he said.
Jonathan Powell said the “same thing” was happening again and again despite resolutions, speeches and promises. “We have to make sure that the stories of the survivors, the victims, are heard everywhere by each generation. The memory of Srebrenica should be seared on our souls, so we do not permit its repetition and the creation of new victims and new hatred,” said Powell.