Siege of Sarajevo: Europe still has a moral duty to help the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina – Angus Robertson

Sarajevo yesterday marked the anniversary of the start of the longest siege of a capital city in modern European history.

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 12:30 pm
Ramiz Holjan, whose child Admir was one of 1,500 children killed during the siege of Sarajevo, prays at a monument bearing their names (Picture: Elvis Barukcic/AFP via Getty Images)

Besieged for three years, 10 months, three weeks and three days by rebel Serb forces, its civilian population was shelled mercilessly.

The siege was longer than the longest of the Second World War at Leningrad which lasted a brutal 29 months or the 133 days during World War One at the siege of Przemyśl fortress.

During the 1,425 days that Sarajevo was besieged, a total of 13,952 people were killed including 5,434 civilians.

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More than 300,000 people were trapped in the city and had to suffer privations including lack of food, water, heating and electricity, all while being regularly shelled and targeted by sniper fire.

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Sarajevo was and still is a beautiful city, which lies in a valley surrounded by mountains. During the siege, the Serb forces literally shot down into the streets and houses as they sought to terrorise and starve the population into submission.

Next year will be the 30th anniversary of the start of the siege of Sarajevo. While most of the damaged buildings have been repaired or rebuilt, many are still pockmarked with the signs of war.

While there is an absence of war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, it has still not properly been able to recover and return to peace. The aggressors that besieged Sarajevo three decades still do not acknowledge their guilt and many deny that genocide was committed against the country’s Muslims.

Europe still has a moral responsibility to help the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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