Statement by the delegation of the International Progress Organization to the Special Session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, Geneva, 13‑14 August 1992
The International Progress Organization follows with grave concern the policy of expulsion and genocide which is being systematically exercised by Serbian forces and militia against the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The brutal military aggression presently being launched against the Republic of Bosnia Herzegovina is not only a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a recognized member state of the United Nations, it is accompanied by hitherto unseen and unimaginable atrocities being committed against the civilian population of Bosnia.
The underlying scheme seems to be a strategy of expulsion of the native population and of ethnic cleansing of large areas. According to recent information, 94' concentration camps and prisons have been set up by Serbian forces on the territory of Bosnia‑Herzegovina. 11 more such camps where citizens of Bosnia - soldiers and civilians - are held captive, have been set up in Serbia and Montenegro. In all the camps, the conditions of detention are in total violation of the requirements of the Geneva Conventions. There are indications that in several of these camps killings and torture are taking place regularly.
The atrocities committed against innocent civilians are rarely seen in the history of mankind. The expulsion of Muslims and Croats from their native villages and towns by Serbian forces and militia and the massacres committed against the Bosnian population are comparable to the atrocities committed by the Nazi occupation army during the Second World War and to their policy of extermination of the Jewish people in Europe.
The International Progress Organization strongly condemns this racial policy of genocide committed against a whole people and in particular against the Muslim community in Bosnia. As a consultative organization of the United Nations we call for decisive international action within the framework of Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter to put an end to this systematic negation of the most basic human rights of an entire population. The credibility of the United Nations is at stake if it does not act decisively against the aggressor in Bosnia‑Herzegovina. In the present context, the new concept of "humanitarian intervention" has a particular relevance. Inaction at this moment on the part of the U.N. would be tantamount to a policy of double standards which would be detrimental to the credibility of a world organization that is committed to collective security.
The International Progress Organization calls for the establishment of an international committee of investigation within the framework of the U.N. to trace back all those commanders and individuals who are responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Humanitarian aid under present circumstances is important, but not enough. The cause of the systematic human rights violations and of the policy of genocide, namely the aggression by Serbian forces and militia, has to be eliminated. The world community should have learned the lessons of history and in particular of World War II and should not stand by watching atrocities and massacres committed against an entire people in Europe and only starting to act when it may be too late. The expulsion of the native Muslim population from Bosnia-Herzegovina may well be compared to the fate of the Jewish population in Europe during world War II and of the Arab people of Palestine after 1948.
Progress Organization sincerely hopes that the Commission on Human Rights
will immediately report to the General Assembly and to the Security
Council of the United Nations and will recommend appropriate measures to
protect the population of Bosnia‑Herzegovina and to stop the gross
violations of human rights. A racist
policy of massacres, ethnic cleansing and acquisition of territory by
force must not be tolerated at the end of the 20th century.