Remembering Srebrenica: 25 Years on

A statement from Enfield Council's Cabinet Member for Community Safety & Cohesion, Cllr Nneka Keazor

"A quarter of a century ago this month, thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys were murdered in cold blood and their wives, sisters, mothers and daughters sexually assaulted and then forcibly deported during the Bosnian War.

"The Srebrenica Massacre was the worst genocide in Europe since the end of World War Two, yet despite overwhelming evidence of the multiple atrocities and unimaginable cruelty that took place, many of the victims are still searching for justice.

"One this day of commemoration, I believe we should pause for a moment and reflect and think of those who died, for those whose lives were changed forever and for those families who may never know what happened to the loved ones who were taken from them.

"The infamous events in Srebenica unfolded on 11 June 1995 when Bosnian Serb forces overran and captured the town of Srebenica in Eastern Bosnia, despite it being protected by a  detachment of Dutch troops and its status as a UN Safe Area.

"In the days that followed they systematically murdered more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys and buried them in mass graves.

"Thousands of women, children and the elderly were then forcibly deported, many became victims of sexual violence which was used as a weapon of war to ethnically cleanse the region and terrorise the populace.

"Concentration camps were also established, with many Bosnian Muslims forced from their homes to be internally displaced or become refugees.

"These were people’s mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, ordinary people like you and me subjected to unimaginable cruelty for no other reason that their religion.

"Despite the Srebrenica genocide being officially recognised by the United Nations, The International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at the Hague many around the world still seek to deny its existence and many victims are still struggling for justice.

"We stand with all the victims of Srebenica, in solidarity with their fight and I am honoured to mark this day of commemoration on behalf of Enfield Council and all of our residents.

"I would like to invite our residents to share a moments reflection at 11am on Friday 10 July when staff at the Council will be holding a minute's silence to think of those who died, those whose lives were changed forever and those who may never know what happened to the loved ones who were taken from them.

"At this time of great uncertainty, I believe we must do all we can to treat each other with care, respect and love.

"The lessons of the Srebrenica genocide and other like it must never be forgotten, and we must strive to ensure we do all we can to prevent them ever happening again.

"We live in a civilised, dynamic and equal society and we have a duty to be vigilant and confront and reject all forms of extremism and intolerance.

"This year’s Srebrenica Memorial Day Theme “Every Action Matters” seeks to encourage every person to reflect upon their own behaviour and choices that they make, and demonstrate that however insignificant it may seem, every action matters. It aims to show that those who stand up can make a difference."

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