American Bosniaks against Jeremic's UNSG bid

The U.S.-based Advisory Council for Bosnia-Herzegovina (ACBH) says it is strongly opposed to Vuk Jeremic's candidacy for the top UN job.

Source: B92, Tanjug
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(Getty Images, file)
(Getty Images, file)

A statement issued by the NGO said that "apart from sending letters to various UN member states, ACBH also met with the U.S. Mission to the UN last week."

It "conveyed the grave concerns of the Bosnian American diaspora regarding Mr. Jeremic's bid to become the next UN Secretary-General."

"While many qualified individuals are competing for the UN's top job, the former Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic has already demonstrated, on numerous occasions that he is unfit to lead the UN into the 21st century," ACBH President Mirzeta Hadzikadic has been quoted as saying.

"For instance," the statement continued, Jeremic in January of 2013 organized a concert at the UN where "a Serbian choir sang March on the River Drina" - i.e., "March on the Drina."

Hadzikadic described it as "a military song that dates back to World War I and has been used as a motivational tool to commit war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) against its non-Serb civilians."

"In fact," he continues, "Serb perpetrators used the song during the 1992-1995 war while they raped, pillaged, and murdered non-Serb civilians in towns and concentration camps throughout BiH. Moreover, the authorities of the former Yugoslavia banned the song for inciting ethnic hatred, and the Serbian parliament officially rejected it as a national anthem."

"Following the aforementioned highly inappropriate concert that was used to spread Serbian ultra-nationalism, ACBH along with other groups sent a letter to the UN on behalf of Bosnian American genocide survivors resulting in an apology from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, where he stated that he was unaware of the song's meaning, and that it was not part of the original program," the statement said, adding:

"Mr. Jeremic managed to create controversy once more in April 2013 when he organized an inflammatory debate on the topic of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The event was insulting to the non-Serb victims of genocide and ethnic cleansing in both BiH and Croatia, and as the current Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated afterwards, "we cannot expect human rights to be respected if we don't support the international justice system." U.S., Canada and Jordan boycotted the unbalanced debate since it aimed to undermine the war crimes tribunal and the UK expressed concern over the fact that the survivors of the Srebrenica genocide had no say in the debate. Further, and also during his tenure as the President of UNGA, Mr. Jeremic compared Kosovo Albanians to the evil orcs in J.R.R. Tolkien's book 'The Hobbit' and publicly stated that Kosovo would join the UN over his dead body."

The NGO describes itself as "an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the interests of Bosnian Americans and works to improve relations between the United States and BiH" and as "advocating for a united, democratic, multiethnic, and indivisible BiH with a primary goal of advancing the integration of BiH into the EU and NATO."

The statement came after the candidacy of Vuk Jeremic, Serbia's former foreign minister and former president of the UN General Assembly, was mentioned favorably this week by the British Telegraph and by the Wall Street Journal.

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