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Remembering Srebrenica: Police & Crime Commissioner marks Memorial Day on 11th July

Last Updated: 10/07/2020

This year marks the 25th year since the genocide in Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina, when 8,372 predominantly Bosnian Muslim men and boys were murdered in the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War.

In the first ever United Nations declared safe area, thousands of people were systematically murdered and buried in mass graves based on their identity. Once an area with vibrant and integrated communities, left torn apart with propaganda and hatred based upon racial and religious differences.

This genocide did not happen overnight – no society is invulnerable to prejudice and intolerance.

Far from being confined to the past, the language of division can still be found in the UK, hate crime is as relevant as ever in our own communities.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Alun Michael said:

“As we approached Christmas 1997, as Deputy Home Secretary, I flew to Sarajevo to visit British Police Officers who were helping to restore human rights and create a democratic police service in Bosnia.

“I was bowled over by the commitment and humanity of those officers and the harrowing experiences they had gone through in towns and villages where mass killings had taken place through the evil of ‘ethnic cleansing’. 

“We remember SREBRENICA as the most horrific single event of that time, but it wasn’t a one-off event and anyone who has studied the Holocaust will know how boundless is the capacity of mankind for cruelty and inhumanity – something that continues across the continents today. 

“That inhumanity is reflected in the cruelty of hate crime, modern slavery, child abuse and domestic violence and abuse in our own communities which is a priority for us to eradicate – and remembering Srebrenica is about understanding where a civilised nation can end up if the ordinary day-to-day attitudes of intolerance and hatred are not rooted out.

“It’s why we need to seize the opportunities created by the Black Lives Matter protest and understand that it is best for every single one of us to live in a society that values every individual without respect to colour, creed or other characteristics – and it requires the commitment of every one of us to build such a society.  Let’s celebrate the positive values of our communities in South Wales but acknowledge that the seeds of evil and examples of hatred and intolerance flourish here too.”

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