Hollywood star and UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie sent a video message to the people of Bosnia marking the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, expressing her sympathy and respect for the victims and their families.
"I’m thinking today of the Mothers of Srebrenica, and all the other survivors, whose husbands, brothers, sons were murdered in the genocide twenty-five years ago," she said.
Jolie has visited the Srebrenica Memorial Center a few years ago and has met with some of the widows and mothers of the more than 8,000 Srebrenica Genocide victims.
The actress visited Bosnia several times and directed a movie about the 1992-95 Bosnian war. ‘In the Land of Blood and Honey’ talks about women who were systematically raped during the conflict.
“I think too of the victims, in particular the children, who were denied the chance to live and love and have families of their own. It is a loss beyond words,” she said.
“And I think of all the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that beautiful heart-shaped country in the heart of Europe, which has given me so many dear friends and wonderful experiences, and which to me will always stand for strength, warmth, and dignity."
“To all Bosnians: I send you my sympathy and my respect, and I grieve with you,” Jolie said.
She also addressed young people in the region and beyond about the part they can play in overcoming hatred, prejudice and discrimination.
“You do not need to be prisoners of the past,” Jolie said.
“You can resist attempts to divide you from anybody else on the basis of their nationality, or ethnicity, or religion, or the colour of their skin. You can reject discrimination and hate speech and propaganda and lies,” she urged.
“You can share a vision for a world built on equal rights and equal laws, respect for difference. A world in which the kind of murderous agenda that led to Srebrenica could not succeed."
"That is the best way we can honour the families we remember today - and the victims of persecution everywhere, with whom we can be proud to stand,” the actress and director concluded.