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Commissioner commemorates the victims and survivors of the Jasenovac concentration camp in Croatia

Statement
Jasenovac 12/04/2019
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Stone Flower, a monument to the victims of Jasenovac concentration camp, Croatia - ©Refik Hodžić

Stone Flower, a monument to the victims of Jasenovac concentration camp, Croatia - ©Refik Hodžić

“More than 80 000 people were brutally killed in the Jasenovac concentration camp. This is a place of profound pain and a symbol of the disastrous consequences of unbridled nationalism and hate. Today I would like to honour the victims of those atrocities, express my solidarity with all those who keep the memory of these tragic events alive, and support those who fight tirelessly for the respect and the dignity of the people who lost their lives in this terrible place. I add my voice to theirs because we need to be stronger and louder than those who deny or manipulate the truth about what happened here“, said today the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, after participating in a ceremony commemorating the liberation of the extermination camp run between 1941 and 1945 by the fascist Ustasha regime in Jasenovac, in Croatia.

The Commissioner finds that denial of the Holocaust, genocide and war crimes remains a serious problem in Europe today, and that politicians play a crucial role: they must choose not to propagate falsehoods about past atrocities. Instead, they have a duty to promote respect for the memory of the victims and ensure the rights of the survivors. “There are politicians and public figures in Croatia who minimise the responsibility of perpetrators, glorify them or outright deny the occurrence of past crimes. The history of Jasenovac shows very clearly why this is a very dangerous road. Historical revisionism should have no place in today’s Europe”, she said.

”We need to promote teaching of history based on truth, respect for all the victims and an open dialogue about past crimes. We must actively reject the hate and violence that has caused so much suffering on our continent. This is the only way we can achieve genuine social cohesion. Jasenovac should be a lesson for us all. We must not let such human tragedies happen ever again.”, the Commissioner concluded.

In Zagreb and Jasenovac the Commissioner met with representatives of the Serb National Council, the Coordination of Jewish Communities in Croatia, the Roma Union 'Kali Sara' and the Croatian Alliance of Antifascists who organised the commemoration, as well as with the survivors of the camp.