I attended a moving Civic Remembrance Service in Commemoration of Srebrenica Memorial Day at Manchester Cathedral. All around the UK there are many of these ceremonies this week, and I will attend another one at the British Muslim Heritage Centre on July 9th. 

The Bosnian Genocide

In July 1995, General Ratko Mladic and his Serbian paramilitary units overran and captured the town of Srebrenica, despite its designation as an area “free from any armed attack or any other hostile act.” In the days following Srebrenica’s fall, more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were systematically massacred and buried in mass graves. Thousands of women, children and elderly people were forcibly deported, and a large number of women were raped. It was the greatest atrocity on European soil since the Second World War. The International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia ruled that these mass executions in Srebrenica constituted genocide.

The anniversary is important to commemorate and imperative in making the public aware of the genocide that took place in Europe only 20 years ago. It is also a chilling reminder of how low level hate and discrimination, if allowed to go unchallenged, can eventually lead to the most horrific examples of man’s inhumanity to fellow human beings. Division and discrimination can take hold at any time, in any place, even in a country as integrated as Bosnia was in the 1990s.

Click on the links below to follow and see more news and information about remembering Srebrenica and the WeStandTogether movement.