Angelina and William Hague has written an article for the English magazine The Telegraph, writing about the urgent subject warcrimes, read full article in our press archive.
The UN General Assembly is viewed each year through the prism of speeches by world leaders at the marble podium.
But the UN exists for the millions of people worldwide who will never set foot in its corridors: the “men and women of nations large and small” whose equal rights to justice and security are enshrined in the UN Charter.
In principle, the UN belongs as much to the poorest refugee as it does to any President or Prime Minister. In practice, the interests and priorities of powerful member states determine which violations of human rights are addressed and which continue unchecked.
World leaders gathered at the UN this week should recommit to the principle that there can be no long-term peace and security without accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
This is a matter of self-interest as much as idealism. The erosion of the rule of law in any part of the world eats away at the foundations of our long-term security. Peace settlements that give amnesty for crimes against civilians perpetuate insecurity. Don’t take us on our word, look at history.
Angelina wrote an article for CNN in her role as a UNHCR Special Envoy and you should really read this, in Angelinas own words.
Angelina Jolie: A tale of two refugee girls
Refugee families endure innumerable forms of mental and physical anguish, including the pain of being unable to provide their children with food when they are hungry or medicine when they are ill or injured. But I have also seen how much it weighs on refugee parents when they are unable to send their children to school, knowing that with each passing year, their life prospects are shrinking and their vulnerability is growing.
In a new report, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, warns that rising numbers of refugee children are not receiving an education. While the implications are grave, our response should not be to despair but instead to see an opportunity.
The global refugee crisis is a major challenge for our generation. But the task is not hopeless. Refugees themselves are not passively waiting for help, but are actively searching for ways to be part of the recovery of their countries. Education is a key to helping them to do this.
The contrasting lives of two Syrian girls I have met brought this home to me vividly.
The first was a young girl who arrived in Lebanon with her five siblings when she was 11. Her mother had been killed in an airstrike, and the children were separated from their father. There was no parent to put food on the table, so she spent her days collecting garbage to sell for miniscule amounts of money and doing the back-breaking labor of fetching water and cooking and cleaning so her siblings could go to school.
She had to set aside her dream of becoming a doctor, and at 14, she married and become a mother. Today, she still cannot read or write. Even if the war ended tomorrow, she has been robbed of her childhood and the future she might have had.
Read full article in the press archive.
Sad news with the passing of Kofi Annan and Angelina made an official statement through UNHCR:
I’m deeply saddened by the passing of Kofi Annan, a true global statesman and man of integrity. Like many others, I will remember him for his kindness, his grace, and his calm strength of purpose. My thoughts are with his wife and family.
Angelina wrote an article for CNN and she speaks about the genocide of Srebrenica, which happened 23 years ago in the region of Bosnia. You can read the article below or in the press archive.
News came today that Hatidža Mehmedović, who survived the war in Bosnia and led the Association of the Mothers of Srebrenica, had died in a hospital in Sarajevo.
I met Hatidža four years ago when I visited the Srebrenica Memorial, where the victims of the genocide — the worst massacre on European soil since the Holocaust — are buried. I remember it vividly. Sitting in a circle of other bereaved and widowed mothers of Srebrenica, quietly and with the utmost dignity, she told her story.
She painted a picture of life before the war, with her husband Abdullah and their two sons Azmir and Almir, who were 21 and 18 years old. She described the terrible days in July 1995, when they were forcibly separated from her and sent to their deaths, along with at least 8,000 other innocent men and boys. As well as her husband and sons, Hatidža lost her father, her two brothers, and scores of her extended family members.
Those who carried out the genocide went to considerable lengths to conceal or destroy the bodies of the victims. For 15 years, Hatidža searched for the remains of her family. She was one of the first survivors to return to Srebrenica. She lived bereaved and alone, facing threats and intimidation, in a climate of persistent attempts to deny the genocide.
Angelina gives exclusive statement to Remembering Srebrenica on 23rd Anniversary of Genocide.
“The passage of time cannot diminish the pain felt by survivors of the war in Bosnia or the horror of the Srebrenica genocide. I have never met more brave, dignified and resilient women than the Mothers of Srebrenica, many still searching for their lost sons and husbands 23 years after the genocide. My thoughts and my heart are with them, and with all survivors in Bosnia today.
I hope this anniversary will remind leaders in Europe, and the North Atlantic Alliance as a whole, of the importance of helping Bosnia to join the EU and NATO – giving the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina the greater opportunity they deserve, and securing the country, and the region, against future instability.
Srebrenica stands as an indelible warning of the consequences when we fail to take sides when innocent civilians are threatened with aggression. It is also a reminder that the international community can act together, as NATO eventually did in Bosnia, to end the conflict and protect civilian life.
On this the 23rd anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica, I hope we will be inspired to renew our sense of responsibility towards others, and our confidence in our ability to act collectively to prevent genocide and war crimes and defend international law. It is in our hands and would be the best way of honouring the memory of those who died in Srebrenica.”
11th July marks the 23rd anniversary of the genocide of Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica, selected for murder because of their Islamic faith.
Dr Waqar Azmi OBE, Chair of Remembering Srebrenica said:
“Our theme this year is ‘Acts of Courage’ which serves as a reminder that hope and the common bonds of humanity can triumph in the darkest of times. We are all invited to draw strength and inspiration from those who, during the genocide and ethnic cleansing in Europe’s worst atrocity since the second world war, were bold enough to resist an ideology of division, protect their neighbours and speak out for truth and justice.
The baton of courage has now been passed on. It is up to us to learn the lessons from Srebrenica.