Western Balkans Coalition for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Crimes Prevention, led by the Post-Conflict Research Center and regional civil society organizations, sent out a letter of concern on August 4th condemning the attacks on Srebrenica Memorial Center employee and human rights defender from Republika Srpska, Edin Ikanović
Mr. Ikanović has suffered a series of attacks by regional and local media, including the public broadcasting service of Republika Srpska, after authoring the 2023 Srebrenica Genocide Denial Report, published by the Srebrenica Memorial Center on August 2, 2023.
The Western Balkans Coalition for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Crimes Prevention was founded in 2017 by the Post-Conflict Research Center and the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect to connect and facilitate collaboration amongst over 30 leading participating civil society organizations as they develop and carry out programs that identify, assess, respond to, and prevent atrocities within their communities.
The letter of concern can be read below.
Subject: Condemnation of Attacks on Human Rights Defender, Mr. Edin Ikanović after authoring the 2023 Srebrenica Genocide Denial Report, published by the Srebrenica Memorial Center on August 2, 2023
We, the undersigned organizations, express our deep concern and unequivocal condemnation of the ongoing attacks on Mr. Edin Ikanovic, a distinguished human rights defender in Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina. These attacks not only target Mr. Ikanovic, but also the Srebrenica Memorial Center and undermine the principles of human rights, freedom of speech, and inter-ethnic harmony.
Mr. Ikanovic, a Bosniak returnee, has a longstanding record of struggle for human rights, access to education, and the fight for community and political rights of Bosniaks and Croats within the entity of Republika Srpska. His commitment to the truth is further exemplified by his rigorous research and fact-checking of fake news circulating in Bosnia. He is an irreplaceable force countering malignant influences that seek to distort the truth and foment division.
Over the past decade, Mr. Ikanovic has dedicated himself to genocide awareness efforts, consistently advocating for a truthful, transparent, and accurate portrayal of history. Mr. Ikanovic is more than just a human rights activist. He is a father, a returnee, a neighbor, and a community pillar, respected and admired by both his Bosniak and Serb neighbors. His relentless participation in initiatives supporting inter-ethnic dialogue in Republika Srpska and his steadfast commitment to tolerance and justice speaks volumes about his character and intentions.
Regrettably, recent attacks on Mr. Ikanovic by regional and local media, including the public broadcasting service of Republika Srpska, have placed him at risk and are wholly unacceptable. These attacks are aimed at delegitimizing his work, undermining his reputation, and inciting hatred against him and his mission.
We call on the international community to urgently intervene to ensure the safety of Mr. Ikanovic, other employees of the Srebrenica Memorial Center, and Bosniak returnees in Srebrenica who face political persecution for their work and research. The world must not stand by while those who fight for justice, truth, and reconciliation are under threat.
We stand in solidarity with Mr. Ikanovic, and we demand immediate action to protect him, the Srebrenica Memorial Center, and their invaluable work for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The letter is open for signing here.
– Post-Conflict Research Center, Sarajevo
– Jewish cultural, educational, and humanitarian society “La Benevolencija”
– Center for youth KVART, Prijedor
– The Balkan Forum, Pristina
– Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Zagreb
– Harriman Institute, Columbia University, New York
– Youth initiative for human rights, Podgorica
– Forum for Strategic Research, Sarajevo
– Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Belgrade
– Humanity in Action, Sarajevo
– Documenta – Center for Dealing with the Past, Zagreb
– Association Network for Building Peace, Sarajevo
– Forum civil peace service – Forum ZFD Sarajevo