75 years ago, today, the Jasenovac extermination camp in Croatia was dismantled. In that camp, more than 80 000 persons were brutally killed by the fascist Ustasha regime. As we honour the memory of the victims today, I warmly welcome the first joint commemoration in Jasenovac since 2014 gathering the authorities, including the Croatian President, the Prime Minister and the Speaker, and the national minorities and victims’ associations. I hope that this encouraging development will be followed by a constructive dialogue and resolute steps aiming to address the outstanding issues that prompted the national minorities to have their separate commemorations in the past years.
As we remember the victims and the survivors of the Jasenovac concentration camp, the words of sorrow and pain, but also of hope and respect for the other that I heard from the survivors whom I met last year in Jasenovac still resonate strongly with me. It is our duty to promote the respect for the memory of the victims and ensure the rights of the survivors. We also need to ensure that the narrative of the truth and recognition of the victims prevails over denial and relativization of the crimes. Today’s joint commemoration is a step in the right direction.