United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Alice Wairimu Nderitu, in her first official visit to Serbia
19 November 2021
The United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Alice Wairimu Nderitu, is conducting her first official visit to Serbia, from 17 to 20 November 2021. This responds to her prioritization of the prevention and trust-building agenda in the country and the broader region of the Western Balkans, as well as her acknowledgement of the leading role of Serbia in the region. Her visit also builds upon her June 2021 visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Special Adviser has reiterated the importance of encouraging national efforts to build trust across all levels, from the top political leadership to the community level. The Special Adviser has also emphasized the importance of working in this direction in all relevant fields, from education to addressing hate speech, with a particular focus on youth and on promoting inclusiveness and mutual understanding.
During her visit, the Special Adviser has conducted meetings with government officials, representatives of civil society and religious leaders. The Special Adviser’s mandate is not connected to the determination of past crimes, which correspond solely to courts of justice, but is focused on prevention. “This includes acknowledging the suffering experienced by all communities in the past in order to build a future grounded on trust and mutual understanding. Addressing the ongoing trust deficit requires active leadership at all levels,” said the Special Adviser.
In her meetings, the Special Adviser has observed the impact that the legacy of the past has in efforts to move the country forward. “I call on all those in position of authority to do their utmost to focus on what brings the country together rather than on what takes people apart. This does not mean forgetting the crimes that occurred in the past but learning the lessons of the past to build a future where the commission of such crimes is no longer possible.”
In this direction, Special Adviser Wairimu Nderitu remains committed to supporting national efforts aimed at trust-building and will offer her assistance to this effect, in coordination with the United Nations Country Team and in support of the people of Serbia.