Croatia Protests Due to Serbia’s Jasenovac Exhibition at UN

By 26 January 2018

ZAGREB, January 26, 2018 - Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Ministry on Thursday said that through an exhibition on the Jasenovac concentration camp at the UN headquarters in New York, to be staged on Thursday evening, Serbia "is manipulating and disseminating false information" about that Ustasha-run WW2 concentration camp for "propaganda purposes".

The Croatian Ministry "condemns the attempt to make use of the UN premises for manipulation and dissemination of false information" through the organisation of the Serbian exhibition about the Jasenovac camp.

The Ministry stated that it had informed the UN about Belgrade's attempt to spread false data, and after that the organisers were compelled to remove "the grossest falsifications" from the exhibition's content.

The United Nations distanced itself from the content of the exhibition, saying that the content was the organisers' responsibility and that the staging of the exhibition on UN premises did not imply acceptance by the UN.

The Croatian Ministry also underscored that, although the content of the exhibition referred mainly to the events that had taken place on the territory of the present-day Croatia, the Serbian side did not inform of it any Croatian institution or expert, including the Jasenovac memorial centre, which, it said, conscientiously managed the memorial site and conducted research about that camp and the atrocities committed there.

The Ministry underlines that it feels deep respect for all victims of the Ustasha regime and condemns in the strongest terms all atrocities committed by that regime, including those in Jasenovac. It says that in the same vein, it deplores attempts to exploit the suffering of the Jasenovac victims for daily political purposes and propaganda.

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić is due to open the exhibition on the Jasenovac concentration camp at the UN headquarters in New York on Thursday evening. The exhibition, entitled "Jasenovac - The Right Not to Forget", is the work of a group of historians from seven countries.

Responding to criticism, Dačić said that the exhibition "Jasenovac - The Right to Remembrance", which opened at the United Nations headquarters in New York at midnight on Thursday, "is not directed against anyone but criminals" and those who want the crimes "to be forgotten and erased." Dačić said that the reason why the exhibition referred to remembrance was "the Holocaust and the genocide that happened in the Jasenovac concentration camp."

He said that there had been "a lot of resistance by a member-state" to having the exhibition staged at the UN, adding that the event would provide an opportunity for the global public to obtain more detailed information about the camp. "The way people were killed at Jasenovac bears evidence of the hatred towards them. The most numerous victims were Serbs, Jews and Roma," Dačić said, adding that the exhibition was staged in order to prevent the atrocities at Jasenovac "from being forgotten and downplayed."