Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Minister, Wendy Morton MP hosted a reception at Lancaster House on Wednesday 22nd September on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government to mark Srebrenica Memorial Day.
The event which had originally been scheduled to take place during the UK’s Srebrenica Memorial Week in July but had to be postponed due to the extension of Covid-19 restrictions was attended by high profile dignitaries including Ambassadors and High Commissioners, politicians from across the political spectrum, senior faith and community leaders as well as British Bosnian survivors of the genocide and ethnic cleansing.
The Srebrenica Genocide is the worst atrocity on European soil since the second world war in which over 8000 Muslims were systematically murdered just in the town of Srebrenica in Bosnia simply because of their Muslim identity, a close to 100,000 Muslims killed across the whole country, over 2.2 million people displaced and, between 20,000-50,000 women raped as part of the systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide enacted by Serb forces.
The UK is the largest commemorator in the world of local Srebrenica memorial activities which are organised through our eight English regional boards and three country boards in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and 1,450 Community Champions to honour the victims and survivors of the Genocide and teach people about the dangers of hatred and the importance of building more cohesive communities for all.
Each year, Remembering Srebrenica UK selects a theme that not only reflects an aspect of the genocide that must be commemorated, but also speaks to communities in the UK. The theme for this year is ‘Rebuilding Lives’ to honour the two million people who were displaced as a result of the genocide and ethnic cleansing. The Chairman of Remembering Srebrenica, Dr Waqar Azmi OBE said:
“In albeit very different ways the Covid pandemic has brought loss and difficulties to millions, shattering individuals and communities, who are now looking to rebuild their lives. And as we move forwards to rebuilding our communities in the wake of the many health and economic challenges which people with divisive agendas are all too keen to exploit, we will remember and learn from the stories of genocide survivors who, despite the horrendous hatred and destruction they experienced, have rebuild their lives with dignity and without calling for retribution or promoting hatred or division. Their spirit is remarkable and their humanity inspiring. We will remember”.
The President of Remembering Srebrenica, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth said: “We are proud that our country is the largest commemorator of Srebrenica memorial activities in the world which not only seeks to bring people together to learn the lessons of the past in order to create stronger, more inclusive communities but also inspires future generations to take action to stand up to hatred and intolerance”.