Andrew Tromans is the Communications and Engagement Manager for Remembering Srebrenica.
Half a century after the Holocaust, after we all said ‘never again’, genocide was allowed to happen again in Europe. On the 11 July 1995, Bosnian-Serb Paramilitary forces led by Ratko Mladić stormed the town of Srebrenica and systematically murdered over 8,000 Muslim men and boys. Thousands of women and girls were subjected to unimaginable sexual violence and rape.
It is for this reason, Remembering Srebrenica are calling on Conservative councillors, activists and members to commemorate the Srebrenica genocide and play their part in building a stronger and more cohesive society.
Acts of Courage
Remembering Srebrenica organises the UK Commemoration for the Srebrenica genocide. The theme for this year is “Acts of Courage”, which celebrates the people that displayed extraordinary courage both during the genocide and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia-Herzegovina, by resisting hatred and division, and in the aftermath, by speaking out for truth and justice. This theme seems particularly fitting in the light of the 2017 terror attacks in Manchester and London, which were met not only with the professionalism and dedication of our emergency services but also by extraordinary acts of courage and resilience from communities.
The Conservative Party has a proud tradition of promoting genocide education and commemoration. Andrew Mitchell MP was the driving force behind the ‘Kigali Declaration’ which affirmed the Conservative Party’s commitment to tackling identity-based violence. Whilst in the cabinet, Baroness Warsi helped establish Remembering Srebrenica and recently said it was ‘one of her proudest achievements’ from her time in government. Last year, Sir Eric Pickles, The Government’s Special Envoy for Post Holocaust Issues visited the Srebrenica memorial site and met survivors of the genocide.
Hold an Event During Memorial Week
Recognising the importance of commemorating Srebrenica, Lord Bourne, Minister for Faith, recently sent a letter to every local authority in England that urged them to take action during Srebrenica Memorial Week. The letter said:
“I would strongly urge you to join councils such as Birmingham, Manchester and Bradford in commemorating Srebrenica. The team at Remembering Srebrenica can offer resources, event templates, speeches and other support so that you can easily commemorate.
“Commemorating Srebrenica is a powerful way of bringing different communities together in your area against hatred, intolerance and extremism.
“I very much hope I can count on your support. Now, more than ever, it is vital that communities unite together free from hatred and division”.
Conservative-controlled local authorities such as Shropshire Council and Bournemouth Borough Council have responded to Lord Bourne’s call for action and are setting an example by organising commemoration events during Srebrenica Memorial Week. In July 2017 over 1000 Srebrenica memorial events took place across the country. Events ranged from film screenings, one-minute silences, football matches, to peace walks and memorial services.
You can find resources and guidance for running events on the Remembering Srebrenica website Alternatively, you can contact the charity for more information on firstname.lastname@example.org. Srebrenica Memorial Week will be held between 8th – 15th July.