GREATER Manchester’s leaders have joined local young people to mark the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide.

On the evening of Thursday, July 9, 2020, members of Greater Manchester’s Youth Combined Authority (GMYCA), took part in the online North West memorial service, hosted by Dr Eamonn O’Neal DL, High Sheriff of Greater Manchester. Four members read a letter from survivor Salih Salihović, and two young people took part in a panel discussion about the importance of remembrance in combatting hate.

Bethan Heatley, who represents The Proud Trust on the GMYCA, said: “I feel really moved to get involved in remembering the atrocity that took place in Srebrenica. Remembrance allows us to learn from past horrors to create a better world today. The fight against hate and injustice is never ending though, as a society remembering the past will help us to progress in the future.”

Leaders from across Greater Manchester also joined the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and Deputy Mayor Bev Hughes in making pledges ahead of the event, in support of the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide - in which more than 8,000 people, predominantly Muslim men and boys, were killed during the Bosnian War.

The pledges are being shared on social media as part of the UK-wide Remembering Srebrenica Memorial Week, which began on Sunday, July 5 and runs until Sunday, July 12.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “We must all continue to work together and challenge hate and intolerance within our communities. By taking positive action to build stronger, more resilient communities and educating future generations we can send a clear message to those that seek to divide us that they won’t succeed.

“Towards the end of 2019, myself, the Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester, and leaders from across the city-region passed a motion during a meeting of the Combined Authority, meaning we will commemorate the anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide each July. Together we will never forget.

“In Greater Manchester we continue to build cohesive communities and respond positively to the recommendations arising from the A Shared Future report, which was produced by an independent commission looking at the broader determinants of cohesion. We also have a strong and a well-established partnership which looks to tackle hate crime and provide support for victims.

“I remain committed to hearing the views of our communities and ensuring they are involved in the decisions that we make and later this year I will be progressing plans to introduce a Race Equality Panel and Faith Equality Panel to provide advice on pertinent issues.”

Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, Leader of Bury Council and GMCA Lead for Young People and Cohesion, said: “I’m so proud to be part of Greater Manchester Combined Authority and of the unanimous commitment from leaders across the city-region to remember the victims of the Srebrenica genocide each year.

“It’s really important that the work of Remembering Srebrenica and other charities who raise awareness and educate people on what happened during the Bosnian war 25 years ago is recognised, and that we continue to work together across Greater Manchester to make it a place for everyone.”

Each year, Remembering Srebrenica UK selects a theme to reflect an aspect of the genocide to be commemorated. The theme for 2020 is Every Action Matters – which was launched by the Secretary of State on February 11, 2020.

Every Action Matters calls upon people to look back at lessons learned from Srebrenica and think about our individual moral obligations to do something, no matter how small, to make a difference. The aim is to motivate people to show others that actions can, and do matter, and that we must always challenge hatred, prejudice and genocide denial.

The massacre in Srebrenica was the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War. On July 11, 1995, more than 8,000 people were killed and a further 20,000 were expelled by Bosnian Serb forces attempting to annex the territory in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, in what the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia concluded amounted to genocide. 

Elinor Chohan, Chair of the Northwest Board for Remembering Srebrenica, said: “We remember and pray for those who perished in Srebrenica 25 years ago, and importantly raise awareness of what took place in Srebrenica.

“We must all learn the lessons of Srebrenica and other genocides and vow to never allow evil like this to prevail again. The actions of each and every one of us counts - we must not stand by and must not accept and tolerate racism, discrimination and hatred but engage fully within our society to make communities better, more cohesive, and embrace our wonderfully rich diversity for every action truly matters and can make a difference.

“I am proud of all our board members and Community Champions who have worked hard to deliver events and initiatives to mark the 25th anniversary under very unusual circumstances.”

 


Article Published: 10/07/2020 07:37 AM