Focus on future, prioritize reconciliation for Wst. Balkans

Concluding a twelve-day visit to Croatia,
Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United
Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide called
for concerted and sustained efforts to prioritize
reconciliation and prevention.

The renewed focus
of the Western Balkan States to achieve European Union
membership, provides a new opportunity for prioritizing the
reconciliation agenda, Special Adviser Adama Dieng said on

Mr. Dieng met with high-level government
officials; religious leaders; civil society organizations;
and members of the diplomatic community – along with
representatives of the UN Country Teams in the region and
the UN Office in Belgrade – exploring both reconciliation
challenges along with opportunities to overcome them.

Dieng was concerned over a number of divisive factors that,
without serious and concerted efforts, could make matters
worse, including political polarization across identity
lines and politicization of past events, such as glorifying
war criminals and contesting court decisions.

Adviser Dieng called on political leaders to take active
steps to overcome divisions and maximize common ground,
encouraging them to focus on the future and prioritize
reconciliation as a fundamental regional policy

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, he placed a special
focus on the October general elections, noting the increase
in political tensions when he met government officials at
State and entity levels in Sarajevo and in Banja Luka. He
also met members of the Speakers Collegium of both
parliamentary chambers. Mr. Dieng paid tribute to the
victims of past atrocity crimes with visits to memorial
sites in Srebrenica and in Donja Gradina and visited the
Partisan Memorial Cemetery in Mostar.

He appealed for
recognition of the suffering of all victims irrespective of
their ethnic or religious origin, including through joint
participation by political leaders in memorialization

He also underlined the important role of religious
leaders and actors in promoting reconciliation, as well as
the importance of empowering the youth with sustained
efforts to promote inclusive education.

Additionally, the
Special Adviser encouraged further strengthening joint
agendas in fields where cooperation already exists,
including prosecuting war crimes and regionalizing the joint
UN and Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency Dialogue for the
Future initiative.

He also pointed to the 2030 Sustainable
Development Agenda, particularly Sustainable Development
Goal 16, as a key instrument for prevention as it addresses
drivers and root causes of instability and


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