Then Foreign Secretary The Rt Hon William Hague MP and Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Angelina Jolie, visited Srebrenica ahead of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, which they chaired in London in June 2014.
During their visit they launched the Remembering Srebrenica initiative with William Hague announcing new UK funding to enable 750 young people from Britain to visit Srebrenica over a two-year period through the Lessons from Srebrenica programme, so that the consequences of genocide are never forgotten. Around 350 British people have travelled to Srebrenica in the past year.
Remembering Srebrenica chairman Dr Waqar Azmi OBE said:
“I’m delighted Remembering Srebrenica’s work has already enabled 350 British people to learn the lessons from Srebrenica. Our theme in this 20th anniversary year is ‘living the lessons’. We’re working with individuals and organisations to do this and help strengthen British society. Our educational visits programme allows individuals from UK communities to travel to Srebrenica to speak to survivors and families whose loved ones were killed. Following their experience, visitors pledge to take action in their communities to help tackle hatred and intolerance.”
Remembering Srebrenica organises UK memorial community action events to honour survivors and keep alive the stories of their loved ones who died. It also runs an educational programme for UK schools.
Insights and lessons learned from Srebrenica help delegates demonstrate how hatred and intolerance can flourish if left unchallenged – even in a country such as Bosnia-Herzegovina where people of different faiths had lived peacefully together for many years, yet an integrated society disintegrated.
When visiting Bosnia-Herzegovina last year, William Hague and Angelian Jolie visited the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial Complex, where they learned more about the genocide and its consequences.
They met survivors of sexual violence still seeking justice for the crimes they endured during the Bosnian war, as well as the organisations working to help them. They also met judges and prosecutors working to address the huge backlog of sexual violence cases.
Speaking at the time, William Hague said:
“Tens of thousands of women, girls and men were raped during the war in Bosnia. We can and must change the entire global attitude to these crimes, and shatter the culture of impunity.”
Angelina Jolie said:
“The use of rape as a weapon of war is one of the great injustices of our time. For too long the world has tolerated these crimes, and left survivors to struggle in the shadows. Our goal is to bring forward the voices of the survivors of these crimes and to ask the world to stand with them.”