Srebrenica remains an open wound on the European conscience and burden for mothers still looking to lay their children to rest, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said Saturday on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide.
"Survivors, mothers of Srebrenica, relatives and friends of those who lost their lives. Certain wounds can take decades to heal.
After a quarter of a century, Srebrenica is still an opened wound in Europe's conscience. There are mothers who can never lay their children to rest.
Displaced families who have never returned to their homes. Survivors who keep waking up in the dead of night. As a woman, mother and wife I can only try to imagine the depth of your pain. My heart goes out to you.
It is difficult to even grasp the depth of this immense tragedy. Today we mourn and we remember. We grieve together. We reflect on our mistakes as we ask for justice. We work for reconciliation.
Today the entire world realizes that we failed in our responsibility to protect those who were most in need of our protection.
The past cannot be changed or undone, but we have a duty to remember and a duty to speak up and act. No more blood in the name of race or religion.
No more genocides, never again! Because racism has not disappeared from our streets, from our social media feeds, and even from political discourse.
Days like these remind us of the fragility of peace. They remind us how crucial it is to support those who bridge divides to bring communities together and heal those who need healing.
In 25 years Bosnia and Herzegovina has come a long way in restoring trust – within and between the country's communities.
For peace to authentically flourish, Bosnia and Herzegovina now needs its leaders to lead the way forward, through the recognition of suffering and with mutual respect. While the memory remains, the future is still to be written.
There is hope in Srebrenica and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Across the country, young people feel European, beyond ethnic divides. And there is an open path that can lead Bosnia and Herzegovina and all the Western Balkans inside the European Union.
To honour the memory is to work for different future for Srebrenica and for Europe. A reconciled city, in a reconciled country, in a united Europe," Ursula von der Leyen said in her video message.