Eighteen years ago today, on 11 July 1995, forces under the command of Ratko Mladic overran the town of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the days that followed over 8,000 men and boys were massacred and up to 30,000 women and girls were forcibly expelled. The horror of those events has stayed with me and today I renew my deepest condolences to the bereaved.
It is important that we don’t forget these events. Srebrenica was a stark demonstration of what can happen when hatred, discrimination and evil are allowed to go unchecked. I am pleased that the government has been able to work with Remembering Srebrenica, an initiative dedicated to commemorating and honouring the victims of Srebrenica, to organise a remembrance ceremony in London this year for the very first time.
Much has changed in Bosnia and Herzegovina since those dark days of the early 1990s. The threat of violence no longer hangs so heavy over its citizens. However, Bosnia and Herzegovina has further to go if it is to achieve its potential and establish itself as a member of the EU and NATO, playing a full role as a stable and sovereign country.
The UK is firmly committed to helping Bosnia and Herzegovina achieve this goal. Ensuring that Bosnia and Herzegovina is tolerant, inclusive and firmly at peace must be the lasting tribute to Srebrenica’s memory.
To mark Srebrenica Memorial Day, the Prime Minister met with three survivors of the Srebrenica genocide at Downing Street. The survivors shared their experiences of Srebrenica, and the Prime Minister stressed how important it was that we never forget what happened during this most shameful moment in European history. He thanked the survivors for their vital work in raising awareness to ensure that such an atrocity can never happen again.
The Prime Minister emphasised his commitment to a stable and peaceful future for Bosnia-Herzegovina, and pledged to support the country in taking its rightful place in the EU and NATO as a unified and sovereign country.