By Oliver Thompson
Kirklees Council’s Cohesion Team held a memorial event to commemorate the victims of one of Europe’s worst genocide since World War 2.
Co-hosted by the Holocaust Exhibition and Learning at the University of Huddersfield, the event gathered local and national individuals and organisations to remember the genocide of over 8000 Muslims and Bosniaks at Srebrenica in 1995.
The small town of Srebrenica became entangled in events during the Bosnian War (1992 – 1995). In 1993, the town and its surrounding area became besieged by the Serbian forces, leading to the United Nations declaring that enclave to be a ‘UN Safe Area’ and guarded by the United Nations Protection Force.
Despite the UN-protection, the region was attacked and captured by the Army of Republika Srpska. Following the capture, all men of fighting age were massacred in summary executions and the women and children were transferred to Tuzla.
In 2001, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia had determined that the massacre was a crime of genocide which was upheld in 2007 by the International Court of Justice. Shortly afterwards, the Republika Srpska government issued an admission and apology for the massacre.
Members of the Kirklees Bosnian community attended the event and Fadila Efendic also gave a talk, who lost her husband, son and 22 relatives at Srebrenica.
Leader of the Kirklees Council, Cllr Shabib Pandor commented:
“In these times where we see an increase in racist language and attacks across the UK, events like this play a vital role in bridging the divides some people try to create in society”.