Sunderland City Council will hold events today (11th July) to remember the Srebrenica genocide, which took place during the Bosnian War (1992-5).
The genocide saw over 8,000 Bosniak Muslim men and boys massacred in and around the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in July 1995.
The genocide will be remembered in events held all across the world, with the theme for this year’s international commemoration being ‘Acts of Courage: Resisting Hate’.
Sunderland’s remembrance ceremony will include a speech from the city’s mayor, Cllr Lynda Scanlan. Following this speech, special guest Mr Smajo Beso will recount his own experiences in Srebrenica.
A short film based around the theme of Acts of Courage: Resisting Hate will then be screened, highlighting acts of courage that were displayed in Srebrenica’s different communities around the time of the atrocities.
Pastor Ken Gott, the mayor’s personal chaplain, will then say a prayer. After the prayer and a minute’s silence, the Remember Srebrenica flag will be raised by Cllr Scanlan.
The ceremony will take place in Sunderland Civic Centre today (Wednesday, 11th July). The ceremony will begin at 10.00 am, but guests are asked to arrive no later than 9.45 am.
Those present will include the Deputy Lieutenant for Tyne and Wear, Dr Norman Taylor, and representatives from Sunderland’s Interfaith Forum. Councillors and council officers will also be present and members of the public are welcome to attend.
Later – as darkness falls – Sunderland’s iconic Penshaw Monument will be illuminated in green and white to remember all who died in Srebrenica’s violence 23 years ago.
Cllr Scanlan said, “As Mayor of Sunderland, I am proud to represent the people of our city at the raising of the Remember Srebrenica flag and hope it will raise public awareness of this very important international day of commemoration.”
“This year’s theme of Acts of Courage: Resisting Hate helps remind us all of the extraordinary courage displayed by families and civilians during war and in the aftermath of conflict.”
“Gathering to remember the sacrifice and suffering of all those affected helps bring people of all faiths together in the name of humanity.”
“Commemorative events here and across the world will help honour the victims of Srebrenica and raise awareness about the significance of building a cohesive society.”