This year’s Srebrenica Memorial Week takes place from Tuesday 4 July, culminating with Srebrenica Memorial Day on Tuesday 11 July.
The Diocese of Leeds supports the Statement of Commemoration issued by the charity ‘Remembering Srebrenica’:
This year marks the 28th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, in which over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were murdered in the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War – simply because of their identity. The lessons from Srebrenica are that hatred and intolerance can flourish if left unchallenged which underlines the importance of why we must never forget about the tragic events that took place and remain resolute in our commitment to tackling hatred, intolerance, prejudice and discrimination in all forms.
The theme for 2023 is ‘Together We Are One’. The aim of the theme for 2023 will be to highlight the fact that the conditions for genocide are built on a climate and culture which allows hatred and extremism to breed resulting in the dividing and fracturing of communities. The flourishing of such hatred and extremism can gradually escalate from inflammatory rhetoric to attacks, persecution and even extermination as seen in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The theme will underline why we must combat such divisive rhetoric by focusing on the things which unite us together as one. As MP Jo Cox who was murdered by a far-right extremist famously said: ‘We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.’
The theme will remind us of the importance of remaining vigilant against the forces of hatred that seeks to ‘other’ groups as being negatively different by using the first steps of Gregory Stanton’s ten stages to genocide model to illustrate this. We therefore remember and honour the memory of the victims and pledge to work towards building a more cohesive, stronger and safer society free from hatred, discrimination and prejudice.
Remembering Srebrenica is a charitable organisation supported by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. The charity’s aim is to commemorate the Bosnian genocide which was a planned systematic and industrialised murder of just under 100,000 Muslims, displacement of two million people and the genocidal rape of up to 50,000 women simply because of their Muslim identity. In the space of just a few days in July 1995, over 8,000 Muslim men and boys were murdered and buried in mass graves in Srebrenica alone
The genocide at Srebrenica is an act that may seem far removed from our day-to-day experiences and be seen as irrelevant to our immediate lives in the UK. The aim of the theme for 2023 will be to highlight the fact that the conditions for genocide are built on a climate and culture which allows hatred and extremism to breed resulting in the dividing and fracturing of communities. The flourishing of such hatred and extremism – now often spread and agitated though the anonymity of online and social media – can gradually escalate from inflammatory rhetoric to attacks, persecution and even extermination as seen in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
More details on this year’s theme, resources and prayers may be found on the Remembering Srebrenca website.