Still missing. Twenty years is too long to wait for truth and justice.
On Saturday I stood on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields to remember the over 8000 men and boys who were killed in the Srebrenica genocide twenty years ago. We remembered them and the thousands more people ‘disappeared’ off the streets and from the homes of Bosnia and Herzegovina, never to be seen again.
Today, we still don’t know the fate or whereabouts of more than 8000 people, including over one thousand victims of the genocide.
Twenty years of pain
For the loved ones of those missing, it’s been twenty years of inescapable mental anguish and a life spent in limbo. For those missing… we can’t know what it means. What have they suffered through? Are they still alive? If so, what conditions are they being held in and what is their state of health?
Back up political declarations with action
The Bosnian authorities have made national, regional and international political declarations that acknowledge their responsibility to search for and identify the missing. They say they know they must provide relatives with access to truth and justice through effective criminal investigations and prosecutions.
Yet the lack of political will to actually fulfil these promises means politicians are failing victims.
Financial support: a crucial and practical remedy
Those who ‘disappeared’ were often their family’s only breadwinner, their relatives’ emotional turmoil made worse by material deprivation. A fund was promised in law 11 years ago but remains nowhere to be seen.
Act now - demand truth, justice and reparation
11 July is the official Day of Commemoration of the genocide in the EU and 30 August is the International Day of the Disappeared.
When I joined 24 others to gather on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields and remember the victims of the genocide, hundreds of people passed by, and we handed them white carnations. We collected 88 signatures for a letter to the authorities calling for truth, justice and reparation.
What’s always amazing with such locations is that those adding their names to our calls for action have come from countries all over the world. Join with them now and send your own letter to the authorities
Download the action below, and write to the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzogovina*.
Please send appeals to arrive no later than 30 August.
*If you prefer, you can send them to Amnesty’s International Secretariat and they will forward your letter on. (c/o Todor Gardos, Balkans Campaigner, Amnesty International Secretariat, 1 Easton Street, London, WC1X 0DW)
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.