The Minister for State at the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Lord Greenhalgh and Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Željko Komšić has today (4th February) launched Remembering Srebrenica’s 2021 UK Theme ‘Rebuilding Lives’ to commemorate the 26th anniversary of the Bosnian genocide in an event that this year was held online.
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 be utilised across the country to deliver hundreds of acts of commemorations which will take place in local communities, schools and town halls during UK Srebrenica Memorial Week from 4th to 11th July 2021.
This year’s theme “Rebuilding Lives”; aims to honour the two million people who were displaced during the genocide and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia in the 1990s and been forced to rebuild their lives in various places throughout the world.
Remembering Srebrenica’s theme has normally been launched at the Houses of Parliament, but due to the ongoing pandemic, was moved entirely online for the first time in its history. Those in attendance included senior representatives from across the political spectrum as well as Ambassadors, local community and faith leaders and members from the British Bosnian community.
The theme “Rebuilding Lives” will focus on the 10,000 Bosnians who found refuge in Great Britain and Ireland after being forcibly displaced due to the war and genocide. By shining a light on the way in which survivors have rebuilt their lives and contributed to every facet of British life that has enriched our communities, Remembering Srebrenica hopes that theme will not only serve as a powerful antidote to combating the negative attitudes and perceptions that surround refugees but also allow us to learn from the those who have shown enormous strength and resilience in some of humanity’s darkest times.
In addition, the theme aims to showcase how communities within the UK can become better equipped with the knowledge to help build a stronger, safer, and more cohesive society.
Since the establishment of Remembering Srebrenica UK in 2013, the charity has educated more than 130,000 young people on the consequences of hatred, organised 1,200 annual community activities and actions, and has created over 1,450 Community Champions who have taken the pledge to stand up to hatred and prejudice within their own communities.
Remembering Srebrenica Chair, Dr Waqar Azmi OBE, stated
“We have seen the positive impact that commemorating Srebrenica in the UK can have in terms of bringing people together to reflect on the importance of tackling hatred and intolerance, and we are certain that this year’s theme will be yet another way of empowering individuals with the skills and resilience to stand up to hateful rhetoric and work towards building a more cohesive society for all.”
Other speakers at the theme launch included: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, President of Remembering Srebrenica UK; Shadow Foreign Secretary, Lisa Nandy MP; Minister for Education in the Welsh Government, Kirsty Williams MS; Board Chair of Remembering Srebrenica North Ireland, Peter Osborne alongside survivors Alma Aganovic, Elvir Klempic, and Amra Dautovic. The event ended with a poetry recitation by second-generation survivor Lejla Delic whose rendition of “Home” by Warsan Shire left a powerful mark on all in the audience.