Srebrenica Memorial week, 9 - 16 July 2017

 

This year we are recognising the 22nd anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica, during which thousands of men and boys were systematically murdered simply because they were Muslim. As an organisation that works to build a more tolerant society, in which difference and diversity are celebrated, we feel it is vital to commemorate Srebrenica to take a stand against hatred and discrimination that targets groups based on their religion, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or any type of difference.

During the course of the conflict that took place in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s between 20,000 and 50,000 women were raped, and sadly in societies all over the world, including our own, there still remains a lot of stigma around sexual violence. This year, we are working with the charity Remembering Srebrenica to commemorate the genocide, and to reflect on the experiences of women in conflict. Remembering Srebrenica's theme this year is Breaking the Silence: Gender and Genocide, you can read more about it on their website: www.srebrenica.org.uk

As part of this, we want to recognise the strength and resilience of women who have survived conflict, and our commitment as an organisation to challenge sexism and gender based violence within our own communities.

In February 2017 our Chair, Lilian Black, and Director visited Bosnia as part of a Remembering Srebrenica delegation.  Lilian said, "I was struck by the intense agony of those mothers we met and their quiet dignity, strength and grace as they continue to live their lives without their men folk and sometimes without knowing where they lie... I hope they continue to share their stories, to remind us all of our responsibility to take appropriate action at the right time to protect people from such persecution and genocide for no other reason than who they are".

It is now more important than ever for us to come together as people in the UK, no matter what our background, to celebrate diversity and to stand together in solidarity against hatred and discrimination. We hope you will join us in mourning the loss of those who died at Srebrenica, and reflecting on how we as individuals, groups and communities can come together to build a better future without hatred.