The Croatian Bishops' Conference said in a press release on Saturday that at its 53rd plenary earlier this week the bishops considered "the inappropriate treatment of the past which is then reflected in our present" and that this referred to the treatment of the victims of the Jasenovac WWII concentration camp, those of the communist dictatorship and those of the 1991-95 Homeland War.

The bishops said more and more attempts were being made to manipulate the circumstances and number of WWII victims, notably by stating untruths and unfounded claims about Jasenovac.

They consider "unacceptable and harmful" the treatment by relevant institutions and the state of the victims of the communist regime, notably regarding mass graves and victims' remains in Croatia and other countries, notably Slovenia, the press release said.

It added that by building on known Greater Serbia myths, one ignored the suffering of Croatians in the Homeland War and the destruction of property, notably cultural and spiritual assets, insufficiently acknowledging the role of Croatian defenders in winning freedom and independence.

The bishops called on relevant state bodies to invest the necessary effort so that light could be shed on the truth about the Jasenovac camp and the events after the Homeland War in a transparent fashion, in keeping with the best contemporary scientific methods and cultural approaches, in order to show victims respect and bring their families peace.

Recent decades have shown how much evil can be caused by ideologies backed by political motives because they are not based on facts and historical truths and often portray the Croatian people as genocidal and criminal, the bishops said.

They called for unity and maturity so that the people and society could have the strength to deal with new attempts to create myths and spread untruths. This is not a call to "return to the past" but an incentive and a wish to get rid of the baggage of the past which burdens the present and blurs the view of the future, the press release said.

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