SIMON WIESENTHAL SUPPORTED BOSNIAKS, LOBBIED FOR ARMS EMBARGO TO BE LIFTED
Simon Wiesenthal Urged the World to Lift Arms Embargo Against Bosnia, so Bosnian Muslims Could Defend Themselves from Serbian Aggression
OIC Insists that UN Lift Arms Embargo on Bosnia
New Straits Times,
20 June 1993. p.16.
VIENA, Sat. — Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal and Islamic countries yesterday equated crimes committed by Serbs against Bosnian Muslims with Nazi atrocities.
The war in Bosnia and the international community’s failure to end the blood-letting in the heart of Europe has overshadowed the current World Conference on Human Rights, which has reached its half-way point.
The 51-member Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) insisted that the conference adopt a declaration calling on the United Nations to lift the arms embargo against Bosnia.
“No such tragedy has occurred since the Holocaust,” Agha Shaki of Pakistan, speaking in behalf of the OIC, told reporters, referring to the killing of what the draft declaration said were “hundreds and thousands of innocent victims.”
A member of the Pakistani delegation suggested that the Islamic countries would not sign the final document of the conference if the OIC’s 12-point declaration is not adopted.
Wiesenthal, who heads the Jewish Documentation Centre in Vienna and has tracked down thousands of Nazi war criminals, joined the Islamic Conference in requesting the lifting of the arms embargo, arguing it was fundamental human right to defend oneself.
In a separate discussion with Serbian and Bosnian officials, Wiesenthal wondered if his 40-year activity “for not forgetting” Nazi war crimes had been in vain in view of the situation in former Yugoslavia.
While the situation in Bosnia could not be compared to Nazi Germany, Wiesenthal said if only part of what the media report is true, then “deeds have been committed which stem from that school of bestiality.”
He said the reaction in general was a shame for Europe and the rest of the world and “a sign of helplessness.”
At the UN conference, speaker after speaker from Islamic countries has branded Genocide in Bosnia, but Islamic countries have so far limited themselves to protests and some humanitarian aid.
“The tragedy in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, characterised by naked Serbian aggression, unprecedented violations of human rights and genocide is an affront to the collective conscience of manking,” the draft declaration says.
It urges the lifting of the arms embargo against Bosnia “to enable it to exercise its right to self-defence in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter…”
It also calls for “restoring the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity” of Bosnia.
The document also says that deportees and displaced persons should be enabled to return safely to their homes. — AP.