Sunderland City Council will join communities across the world in the annual, international commemoration of the Bosnian Genocide in Srebrenica.

‘Remembering Srebrenica’ week commences on Monday 5 July and marks the 26th anniversary of the Bosnian Genocide; the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War. It will end on Sunday 11 July, which has been designated as the official day of remembrance for the victims of Srebrenica.

During the struggle for control of Bosnia following the break-up of the former wider state of Yugoslavia, 8,372 predominantly Bosnian Muslim men and boys were murdered by the opposing factions which included Bosnian Serbs and Croats.

The theme for this year’s UK commemoration is ‘Rebuilding Lives’. It aims to shed light on the stories of the Bosnians affected by the war and how they have rebuilt their lives in the years following.

On Monday 5 July, the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Henry Trueman, will give a speech and raise the Remembering Srebrenica flag, which will fly over the Civic Centre all week.

Throughout the week, personal stories from two survivors and members of the North East Bosnian community will be available to view on Sunderland City Council’s YouTube channel.

Representative of the North East’s Bosnian community, Smajo Beso and Elvedin Hopovac, will also record speeches to share online. Smajo’s family were forced from their homes and became refugees in their own country during the Srebrenica Genocide, while Elvedin was born in the North East after his dad Elvir and mum Zineta came here in 1994.

Sunderland City Council will share a link on social media to watch The Reverend Canon Stuart Bain, Provost of Sunderland Minster, Tony Wortman and Zaf Iqbal of the Sunderland Interfaith Forum, light 11 candles and recite the Living the Lessons pledge.

The Mayor, Cllr Trueman, said: “Today we remember and honour the victims and survivors of Srebrenica and honour the two million people who were displaced during the genocide and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia.

“This year we focus on how those these people have rebuilt their lives after surviving war, dealt with the trauma of losing loved ones and their livelihood, and had to overcome suffering which is incomprehensible for many.

“As we move forwards to rebuilding our own communities in the wake of the many health and economic challenges ahead, let us remember and take inspiration from the spirit shown by the survivors who rebuilt their lives with such dignity and humanity.”
As part of the commemoration, our city monuments and landmarks will also be lit up in green and white in honor of all those who lost their lives 26 years ago.

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