On 25th November, Minister for Faith, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth officially opened ‘Bosnia House’ in Birmingham -the national Bosnian centre that serves more than 10,000 Bosnians living in the UK.
This was a historic moment for a community that survived genocide and ethnic cleansing in Europe and found refuge in the UK. Over 1.3 million Bosnians were displaced across Europe and North America and Australia, and 50,000 women were raped in what has been termed by the UN as the worst atrocity on European soil since the second world war.
Earlier this year, the Minister for Faith visited Bosnia and paid his respects at the site of genocide in the town of Srebrenica where more than 8000 Bosnian-Muslim men and boys were systematically murdered because of their faith. This visit was organised by the Birmingham-based national charity Remembering Srebrenica which works with Bosnian genocide survivors to help tackle hatred and build stronger, more cohesive communities in the UK.
Faith Minister Lord Bourne said:
“I am proud to open Bosnia House and ensure the Bosnian community has a space to
celebrate their heritage and receive support and refuge. The Bosnian community, who built their lives in Britain after experiencing the worst forms of hate, continue to thrive and contribute to every facet of British life. As Communities Minister, I’m thankful that their rich culture and traditions will
be preserved and supported with this new national centre.”
Anes Ceric, Manager of the Bosnia and Herzegovina UK Network and Bosnia House
“We are delighted that the Minister for Faith formally opened Bosnia House. For families living in the UK, Bosnia House is the beating heart of the community- a space where people can get practical advice, psychological support and young Bosnians can learn about their heritage.
More than 20 years ago, many first-generation Bosnians came to the UK as refugees fleeing ethnic cleansing and genocide. Now, across the country the British-Bosnian community is thriving. We will always be grateful to the UK for offering us sanctuary and to the national charity Remembering Srebrenica who continue to commemorate Srebrenica Memorial Day each year with the support of the UK government.”
Dr Waqar Azmi OBE, Chair of Remembering Srebrenica said
“The voices of the survivors of the Bosnian genocide and ethnic cleansing are powerful tools for tackling hatred and building cohesion in our communities and the national Bosnian Centre will no doubt go a long way to not only to preserve Bosnian culture but also to strengthen the voice of survivors”