UN Spokesperson responds to The New Civil Rights Movement, but ignores the Stop Genocide Denial campaign’s demand to remove Jeremic’s video from the UN website
It appears that the UN is willing to ignore the protests of hundreds of outraged Bosnians, who have protested the recent nationalistic antics of ultra nationalist Serbian Vuk Jeremic, the president of the UN General Assembly. Jeremic recently celebrated a self-serving official tribute to Serbia. The Belgrade based Via Vox choir serenaded Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Jeremic at a New Year’s celebration on Jan. 14th. Jeremic and Ban Ki-Moon enthusiastically clapped to the beat of the uber Serbian military martial song, “March on the Drina” which was used to instill terror as Serbian troops invaded towns and villages in Eastern Bosnia during the 1992-1995 war carried out in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This reporter had queried Martin Nesisrky, spokesperson for the Secretary-General yesterday and today regarding the Stop Genocide Denial’s campaign demands who requested an apology to the Bosnian people who suffered Serb aggression and a second demand to remove the Jeremic video from the UN General Assembly’s website. His response just received this afternoon: “Thank you for your emails. I don’t have anything to add to what I said at my daily briefing yesterday and today.”
Nesisrky issued an apology yesterday during the daily UN press briefing in response to veteran UN correspondent Erol Avodovic’s question about the controversy. The pertinent extract of the official transcript follows and the video of the UN Daily press briefing where Nesisrky responds to the pertinent question at the 11:00 mark and continues to 15:32:
From the official UN transcript, Jan. 17:
Spokesperson: Well, that would not be for the United Nations to conduct, and I think we have made our position clear on that. Yes, Erol [Avdovic]?
Question: Thank you, Martin. With regard to what [inaudible], this regarding the attending of the Secretary-General of this New Year concert organized by the President of the General Assembly,Mr. Vuk Jeremić, and that one of the songs that was performed was, as many people understood, the favourite song of the nationalist who committed some of the biggest atrocities in Bosnia, [inaudible]. It’s [inaudible], and Secretary-General was seen applauding there. And now, I have two questions: whether the Secretary-General is aware of very harsh reaction of some of the people, women from Srebrenica today that he met, that [inaudible], what has happened in Srebrenica, in particular regarding these [inaudible]? And number two, whether does he feel that he was not very informed and would like probably to apologize or to expect anything else?
Spokesperson: Well, we are aware that some people were offended by the encore song at the concert held in the General Assembly on Monday. And we sincerely regret that people were offended by this song, which was not listed in the official programme. The Secretary-General obviously was not aware what the song was about or the use that has been made of it in the past. Okay. Yes, Nizar?
For more information on the Stop Genocide Denial Campaign’s efforts to remove the Jeremic video visit its Facebook page here. Campaign participants have expanded their efforts to urge the UN Bosnia and Herzegovina Ambassador Mirsada Čolaković and U.S Ambassador Susan Rice to pressure the UN to removed the Jeremic video from the UN General Assembly’s website.
Tanya L. Domi is the Deputy Editor of the New Civil Rights Movement blog. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and teaches human rights in East Central Europe and former Yugoslavia. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi was a nationally recognized LGBT civil rights activist who worked for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force during the campaign to lift the military ban in the early 1990s. Domi has also worked internationally in a dozen countries on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights and gender issues. She is chair of the board of directors for GetEQUAL. Domi is currently writing a book about the emerging LGBT human rights movement in the Western Balkans.
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