LONDON, February 7 (FENA) - The UK Government Minister for Europe, Leo Docherty and the Minister for Communities and Faith, Baroness Scott of Bybrook OBE officially launched Remembering Srebrenica UK’s 2023 Theme ‘Together We Are One’ in the Houses of Parliament to commemorate the 28th anniversary of the Bosnian genocide - the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War.
Between 1992 to 1995, an inhumane plan was executed to ethnically cleanse Bosniak Muslims from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Bosnian Genocide was therefore a planned systematic and industrialized murder of just under 100,000 Muslims, displacement of two million people and the genocidal rape of up to 50,000 women simply because of their Muslim identity.
In the space of just a few days in July 1995, over 8,000 Muslim men and boys were murdered and buried in mass graves in Srebrenica alone in what Judge Fouad Riad from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia described as ‘truly scenes from hell, written on the darkest pages of human history’.
As a result of the work undertaken by Remembering Srebrenica, the UK is the only country outside Bosnia and Herzegovina that commemorates the Bosnian genocide at a national level.
The charity which has received cross-party support as well as support from His Majesty, King Charles III, is responsible for organizing the largest number of commemoration activities in the world through its eight English regional boards and three country boards in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and 1,500 Community Champions to honor the victims and survivors of the genocide and teach people about the dangers of hatred and the importance of building more cohesive communities for all.
Each year Remembering Srebrenica selects a theme that both reflects an aspect of the genocide that must be commemorated, but also speaks to communities here in the UK. The theme will see hundreds of acts of commemorations taking place across the country in local communities, schools and town halls during UK Srebrenica Memorial Week which this year will run from Tuesday 4th July to Tuesday 11th July.
The theme for 2023 is ‘Together We Are One'. It will seek to provide communities with a better understanding of the behaviors and influences around them that can either build or damage a cohesive community and equip them with the skills and confidence to challenge such forces of hatred that allows intolerance to thrive if unchecked.
Furthermore, it will encourage people to reflect upon how we can foster an environment that helps emphasize the similarities between groups and finds common ground with people from different backgrounds instead of focusing on a single facet of their identity.
Other speakers at the parliamentary reception to launch the theme included Azra Omerbegovic, Bosnian genocide and ethnic cleansing survivor, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, President of Remembering Srebrenica, Alicia Kearns MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Bosnia and Herzegovina & Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Yasmin Qureshi MP, Shadow Minister Equalities Office & Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Srebrenica, Dr Waqar Azmi OBE, Chair of Remembering Srebrenica UK, the Rt Hon Colonel Bob Stewart MP, former British Commander of United Nations Forces in Bosnia & Herzegovina, the Rt Hon Ian Blackford, former leader of the Scottish National Party Westminster Group and His Excellency Vanja Filipovic, Ambassador of Bosnian & Herzegovina to London.
“We are proud that our country is the largest commemorator of Srebrenica memorial activities in the world. We hope that this year’s theme will help empower communities to actively challenge stereotyping, scapegoating, hate speech and dehumanizing language and counter this by coming together as one community against hatred and division and working towards creating a society characterized by embracing our common humanity," said Dr. Waqar Azmi OBE, Chairman of Remembering Srebrenica UK.
(FENA) S. R.