On this day, we are recognising the 22nd anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica, during which thousands of men and boys were systematically murdered, simply because they were Muslim. It is vital to commemorate Srebrenica to take a stand against hatred and discrimination that targets groups based on their religion, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or any type of difference.
During the course of the conflict that took place in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s, between 20,000 and 50,000 women were raped, and sadly in societies all over the world, including our own, there still remains a lot of stigma around sexual violence. This year, we are working with the charity Remembering Srebrenica to commemorate the genocide, and to reflect on the experiences of women in conflict. Remembering Srebrenica’s theme this year is Breaking the Silence: Gender and Genocide, you can read more about it on their website: www.srebrenica.org.uk
Recently President Zara Mohammed, was among a British delegation that visited Srebrenica. On this harrowing occasion, she said “The genocide of Srebrenica was one that could, and should, have been prevented – it is one of the biggest failures of the international community in recent decades. Seeing the endless rows of white headstones set in the Potocari Cemetery, it is scarcely believable that this was the backdrop to such horrors only a generation ago.”
As part of this, we want to recognise the strength and resilience of women who have survived conflict, and our commitment as an organisation to challenge sexism and gender based violence within our own communities.
Mohammed added,“The massacre symbolizes the importance of standing, unconditionally, against racial hate and that which divides us. We must not only be committed to remembering and commemorating the victims of Srebrenica, but to honour their memories by taking positive action to build better communities.”
It is now more important than ever for us to come together in the UK, no matter what our background, to celebrate diversity and to stand together in solidarity against hatred and discrimination. We hope you will join us in mourning the loss of those who died at Srebrenica, and reflecting on how we as individuals, groups and communities can come together to build a better future without hatred.
1. FOSIS (est. 1963) is the umbrella organisation of student groups in colleges and universities throughout the UK and Ireland, representing the interests of over 130,000 Muslim students.
2. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively visit our website www.fosis.org.uk.