The Independent View: We will remember, 23 years since the Srebrenica genocide

2018 marks the 23rd anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide- the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War. The atrocity committed in Srebrenica only a generation ago, occurred in a modern and multicultural society, that is similar to our own.

When we look to the increase in reports of hate crime incidents since the EU Referendum and to examples of vile extremism such as the ‘Punish A Muslim Day’ letters, then we must conclude that we cannot afford the luxury of believing that something like the Srebrenica genocide could not here.

This is why we are calling on Liberal Democrats Councillors, members and activists to take action during Srebrenica Memorial Week, which will be held between 8-15th July this year.

The Liberal Democrats have a good track record in championing genocide education and commemoration. Stephen Williams was a minister at the Department for Communities and Local Government when the decision was taken to part-fund Remembering Srebrenica’s education programme. Whilst he was Deputy PM, Nick Clegg hosted genocide survivors at Number Ten.

More recently, Tom Brake MP was the primary sponsor of Early Day Motion 637 which welcomed the guilty verdict against Bosnian-Serb army commander Ratko Mladić for directing the Srebrenica genocide and commended the work of organisations like the Mothers of Srebrenica and Remembering Srebrenica.

A number of senior Liberal Democrats, such as Lord Wallace, have travelled to Srebrenica to bear witness to the genocide.

Hold An Event In Memorial Week

The Chair of Remembering Srebrenica, Dr Waqar Azmi, recently wrote to Local Authorities across England. The letter said:

I write to urge your council to mark the 23rd anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, by holding a Srebrenica Memorial Day event or activity during Srebrenica Memorial Week, from the 8th– 15th July.

Through acts of commemoration, your council will be demonstrating a commitment to celebrating the rich diversity of your town or city and engaging local communities to come together to foster stronger, more integrated relationships. Holding a memorial event can also communicate the council’s commitment to social cohesion and build better, safer communities, sending a powerful message to those who seek to create divisions in society.

Liberal Democrat-controlled local authorities, such as Cheltenham Borough Council are leading the way by organising Srebrenica memorial events. 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 us for more information at [email protected].


* Andrew Tromans is the Communications and Engagement Manager, Remembering Srebrenica

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This entry was posted in The Independent View.


  • Lorenzo Cherin 22nd Jun '18 - 1:22pm

    This is very poignant. Too many thing that these things are far away.

    This party and those of a liberal persuasion know , as Burke and Mill eloquently said , evil triumphs when the good are silent.

    Gosport is not Srebrenica. It is an example of evil. We cannot close our eyes and do nothing.

    Too many on the farther left and alt right do precisely that. It is interesting how so many want to do nothing about these issues other than posture or protest from and against a party oriented politiking.

    There is too much at stake for the liberal, Liberal, Lib Dem voice to be silent and it is thus to be spoken and loud.

  • “occurred in a modern and multicultural society, that is similar to our own.” No. Any reading of Balkan history shows continuous cultural churn from the schism within catholicism and the constant ebb and flow of the Ottoman Empire. WW2 unleashed ethnic warfare which was eventually contained by Tito. Contained but not diminished. The fall of the Soviet empire let the lid off centuries of hatred turbocharged by the atrocities of WW2.

  • And a little bit more than 23 years from one of the British Army’s most notable recent engagements (and possibly the least remembered) in defending Gorazde. But for the Royal Welch Fusiliers we would probably today also talk of the Gorazde genocide.

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