An influential delegation of women, who are all leaders in their fields, travelled to Srebrenica in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) on Sunday 18th March. Over a four-day programme, delegates learnt how lessons from the worst atrocity on European soil since World War Two can be used in their work to prevent violence and discrimination against women in the UK.
Amongst the group who travelled to BiH, are War Correspondent and Co-Author of Christina Lamb, Rabbi Deborah Kahn-Harris who is Principal of Leo Baeck College in London and Nicki Norman of Women’s Aid Federation England. Also in attendance were Pavan Amara, founder of the ‘My Body Back’ project that supports women who have experienced sexual violence and Professor Nicola Slee, Director of Research at the Queen’s Foundation for Theological Education in Birmingham. This delegation coincides with Women’s History Month, which is held in March every year.
Commenting on the ‘Lessons from Srebrenica’ delegation, Rabbi Kahn-Harris said
‘Lessons from Srebrenica’ delegates learnt about the genocide in Srebrenica which happened 23 years ago, when General Ratko Mladić and his Bosnian Serb forces marched into the town of Srebrenica, systematically murdering over 8000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys and raping thousands of women and girls. The delegates heard the testimonies of genocide survivors such as Dr Fatima Dautbašić-Klempić, a gynaecologist and the only female doctor in Srebrenica during the genocide. This delegation also sought to highlight the issue of violence against women in the UK.
The delegates also met representatives of Medica Zenica, an organisation that supports survivors of sexualised wartime violence.
Founder of the ‘My Body Back’ Project, Pavan Amara said
This year, Remembering Srebrenica will be holding community action events and ceremonies to mark the 23rd anniversary of the genocide between 8th-15th July, which will include a UK Commemoration at the Guildhall in London, faith and interfaith community action at churches, mosques and synagogues, concerts, art exhibitions, film screenings, a football tournament, peace walks, school workshops and assemblies.
Remembering Srebrenica’s theme for commemorations this year is ‘Acts of Courage’. Commenting on this and her experience of the ‘Lessons of Srebrenica’ delegation,
Nicki Norman of Women’s Aid Federation said