UN seeks $12.5 million for 3-year recovery effort in Srebrenica

UN seeks $12.5 million for 3-year recovery effort in Srebrenica

Jacques Paul Klein
The United Nations today launched a $12.5 million appeal to finance a three-year recovery programme for the war-ravaged city of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Srebrenica has been a festering sore which we have tried to treat over the past five years but we’ve never tried to cure,” the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jacques Klein, told reporters in New York. “Our sense was – those of us who were on the ground – that it was time to actually try to heal the wound, rather than to just treat it.”

The Srebrenica Regional Recovery Initiative involves refugee returns, collective housing for women without families, and economic reconstruction in the city, he said, emphasizing the importance of assisting survivors of the Balkans war of the 1990s. “We need to find a way to help these women rebuild their shattered lives; I think they deserve no less.”

“Let’s be honest: the world is culpable in terms of what happened” in Srebrenica, said Mr. Klein. “We’re trying to move forward… we don’t expect to be thanked but collectively we all believe this is the right thing to do.”

The Director of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Kalman Miszei, said the international community had poured an enormous sum of money into Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the country’s recovery “has taken place very insufficiently so far.” He added that funding had helped to alleviate a crisis, but had not put Bosnia on the path of sustainable development.

UNDP had identified key areas “to facilitate accelerated normalization of life in Srebrenica,” said Mr. Miszei. These included rehabilitating infrastructure, improving agriculture, supporting reconciliation in civil society, and strengthening municipalities.

Mr. Miszei said the fact that thousands of people were expected to go back to Srebrenica this year “makes this project actually extremely timely, because it will facilitate them establishing a new livelihood for themselves and healing those very deep wounds.”