PM must join the world community and his Foreign Affairs Minister and pass the motion

OTTAWA - Today, NDP MP Brian Masse (Windsor West), along with Emir Ramic, President of the Congress of North American Bosniaks, Dr. Zijad Delic, National Director of the Islamic Congress of Canada, and other leaders from the Canadian Bosniak community and a survivor of the Srebrenica Genocide, were joined by Liberal MP Rob Oliphant (Don Valley West) and Bloc MP Francine Lalonde (La Pointe-de-l'Île), to demand the Prime Minister rescind his veto of a House of Commons motion, agreed to by the Foreign Affairs Minister’s office and all opposition parties, which recognizes the Srebrenica genocide with a Remembrance Day.

“This is an embarrassment and shameful. As the only western country to have not passed a motion or resolution recognizing the Srebrenica genocide, the Prime Minister has diminished Canada’s position in the world on the eve of the G-8 and G-20 Summits,” Masse stated. “What is humiliating and outrageous is the Prime Minister has vetoed what his own Foreign Affairs Minister agreed to. Even the Serbian parliament has passed a resolution. This is appalling.”

After the fall of Srebrenica on July 11th, 1995, Bosnian Serb forces, commanded by General Ratko Mladic (an indicted war criminal), and paramilitary units rapidly executed more than 8,000 Bosniak (Muslim) men, boys, and seniors, who had sought safety in the area. Moreover, approximately 30,000 people were forcibly deported in a UN-assisted ethnic cleansing. The European Parliament resolution referred to the Srebrenica Massacre as “the biggest war crime in Europe since the end of WWII.” This atrocity has been declared an act of genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Court of Justice.

The U.S. House, U.S. Senate and the European Parliament have all passed resolutions or motions that use the word genocide to describe the Srebrenica Massacre, which is the only event during the war in Bosnia (1992-1995) to have been declared a genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Zeljko Milicevic, Chair of Justice for Bosnia Task Force, said that “we are upset to see a country such as Canada deny the acknowledgement of the worst human rights abuses in Europe since the Holocaust. Lejla Handanovic, speaking on behalf of the victims, declared, “many people in Canada are not aware of the events that took place in Srebrenica....having this resolution will help raise awareness of the genocide and let us actually put meaning to the words, ‘Never again.’”

“Canada participated in peacekeeping in Bosnia as well as the international legal proceedings to bring justice to the victims. The Prime Minister’s veto is an abandonment our proud past for this present embarrassment and shame,” Masse stated.