Press release

UK holds first memorial day for the victims of the Srebrenica genocide

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

On the 18th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, DCLG announces funding to commemorate and honour lost lives of Bosnians.

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On the 18th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, the Department for Communities and Local Government today (11 July, 2013) announced funding to commemorate and honour more than 8,000 Bosnian men and boys who lost their lives and help ensure that this crime is never forgotten.

‘Remembering Srebrenica’ is a community-led programme which teaches future generations about the consequences of hatred. Part of its work is to lead educational visits by community leaders to Bosnia so they can pay their respects to the victims and hear from survivors about the devastating events of July 1995. By reflecting upon the atrocities that took place, those who visit the area will be expected to share their experiences with their wider communities so that the lessons can be passed to those who are too young to remember the tragedy.

The UK’s first Srebrenica Memorial Day event is being held in London this evening, where survivors will speak about their experiences. Prayers will also be held for the victims and a memorial film will be played throughout the evening to allow attendees to pay their respects and remember those who lost their lives.

It follows a resolution by the European Parliament in 2009 which designated 11 July as the official day of remembrance of the Srebrenica genocide.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, Minister for Faith and Communities Baroness Warsi, Foreign Secretary William Hague and the Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols will also speak at the event.

Speaking ahead of the commemorative event at Lancaster House, London:

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:

The spectre of Srebrenica casts a long shadow. Wiping out families, destroying lives, shattering the future of a country. It was the worst act of genocide in Europe since the Second World War, happening so close to where many people were living peaceful and carefree lives.

It reminds us of our collective responsibility to keep fighting the forces of hate and challenging the politics of division which is why we are funding an educational project to send local leaders to Srebrenica.

This will not just be a vital opportunity to commemorate the innocents who perished in the massacre. It will be a chance to educate future generations about the effects of hatred so that we can help make sure such horrors never happen again.

Faith Minister Baroness Warsi said:

Srebrenica Memorial Day is a day to stop, to think, and to remember the victims of the Srebrenica genocide. What happened to them and their families carries a wider message for all of us: that hatred can take hold in any place, at any time – even at the end of the 20th Century, on European soil.

I have met many of the mothers of Srebrenica over the years: women whose sons and husbands were so cruelly taken from them eighteen years ago. We can all learn lessons from their courage to carry on, to seek justice, and to properly lay to rest their loved ones.

With that fact in our minds and the mothers of Srebrenica in our hearts, we must stand together and pledge never, ever again.

Further information

  1. The Department for Communities and Local Government is part funding Remembering Srebrenica, which will send 50 local leaders on educational visits, produce an informative websites and stage the UK’s first memorial day.
  2. In July 1995, the Bosnian town of Srebrenica was overrun and captured by Serb forces commanded by General Ratko Mladic, despite having been declared a UN Safe Area. More than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were systematically murdered and buried in mass graves in actions that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and International Court of Justice have determined constitute genocide.
  3. More information on www.srebrenica.org.uk

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Published 11 July 2013