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Press Release

The United Nations and Genocide: On behalf of the Mothers of Srebrenica, German human rights activists build a "Pillar of Shame" against United Nations' arrogance

Berlin/Sarajevo, 13.05.2010


The 15th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide will be marked by a new form of a memorial: made of 16,744 shoes (representing the 8,372 victims), two gigantic letters, 'U' and 'N', cast in shimmering white concrete will be erected against the arrogance of the United Nations.

"The Pillar of Shame will serve as a metaphor for the immense betrayal of the United Nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and as a warning to all future co-workers of the United Nations," says Philipp Ruch, the project initiator. "Looking on the international level, there has been much too little discussion about what the United Nations Organisation permitted to happen in Bosnia and Herzegovina."

The two letters will be penetrated by three monumental bullet holes with real shoes found in mass graves embedded in them. The project has for the last year been prepared in Germany, and will officially be supported by the Memorial Centre Potocari-Srebrenica, as well as by four associations established by, and joining together the survivors of the Srebrenica genocide (Srebrenicke majke, Udruženje Majki Srebrenice i Podrinja, Žene Srebrenice, and Pokret Majke enklava Srebrenica i Žepa).

Axel Hagedorn, legal representatives of 6,000 survivors of the genocide that have been running a legal process against the United Nations Organisation since 2007, complains, "Despite continuous media reports about Srebrenica, the mothers of Srebrenica still have not successfully reached out to the world with their cries against the UN. This cry against such an exorbitant injustice and arrogance of the UN leadership needs to be symbolised. The Pillar of Shame should serve as the symbol of outcry by the mothers of Srebrenica." In 1999, Kofi Annan depicted Srebrenica as "the biggest shame in the history of the United Nations".

The actual location of the monument will be determined by the mothers of Srebrenica. They will also select the names of individuals, who will be shamed by the Monument. With this regard, a special committee of the mothers of Srebrenica will be appointed by the Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV), the second biggest human rights organisation in Germany. "The people of Bosnia should not be left alone in their suffering; and their suffering should not be increased any further," says Tilman Zülch, president of the Society for Threatened Peoples. "The country has since the end of the war been denied freedom and further development. This has to this day been enhanced by false decisions on the parts of the United Nations and the European Union."



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