The Srebrenica massacre took place in 1995 during the Bosnian war. More than 8000 unarmed Bosnian Muslims sheltering in a UN ‘safe area’ were slaughtered: the biggest civilian atrocity in Europe since WWII.
Today, at Wirral Deen Centre in Birkenhead, to mark the annual 11 July UK National Srebrenica Memorial Day, people of all faiths and backgrounds came together for a coffee morning and to inform, educate, and learn, in remembrance of those who died during the genocide.
Piara Miah is Outreach Co-ordinator at the Wirral Deen Centre. She said that the event was to support friends, communities and about bringing people together for the greater good.
Neil Sledge, a teacher and Global Education Officer of the National Education Union was at the event. He said, “We are delighted to once again stand together in unity with the Wirral Deen Centre and Muslim community in Remembering Srebrenica. Our aim is for people to meet, remember, learn from the genocide, and pledge to stand, work and live together in mutual peace and respect.
“We are asking visitors to make their own pledge to promote respect, peace, unity and diversity, and to reflect on their own actions in standing up to hate, division, prejudice and discrimination.”
What was the Srebrenica massacre?
The town of Srebrenica came to international prominence as a result of events during the Bosnian War, which took place between 1992 and 1995.
The objectives of the Bosnian Serbs included the creation of a border separating the Serb people from Bosnia’s other ethnic communities and the abolition of the border separating Serbia and the Bosnian Serbs’ Republika Srpska.
The Bosnian Muslim/Bosniak majority population of the area posed a major obstacle to the achievement of these objectives.
In the early days of the campaign of ethnic cleansing that followed the outbreak of war in April 1992 the town of Srebrenica was occupied by Serb/Serbian forces. It was subsequently retaken by Bosniak resistance groups.
The town and its surrounding area was surrounded and besieged by Serb forces. On 16 April 1993, the United Nations declared the Bosnian Muslim/Bosniak enclave a UN safe area, to be “free from any armed attack or any other hostile act.”
In July 1995, despite the town’s UN-protected status, it was attacked and captured by the Army of Republika Srpska.
Following the town’s capture, all men of fighting age who fell into Bosnian Serb hands were massacred in a systematically organised series of summary executions.
The Srebrenica massacre is considered the worst genocide in post-Second World War European history to this day, with over 8000 Bosnian Muslims killed.
Main image: 2nd Left: Piara Miah, Outreach Co-ordinator at the Wirral Deen Centre, 2nd right: Neil Sledge, teacher and Global Education Officer of the NEU, with members of the local community at the coffee morning.