Members of the 22-strong group have pledged to spread awareness of the genocide through personal actions in the UK – including memorial events, workshops and debates across Defence and civilian communities.
Delegates travelled to Srebrenica as part of Remembering Srebrenica’s programme of educational visits. The group was drawn from the Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.
The delegation included Ministry of Defence (MOD) experts who provide advice and support on cultural matters to UK military formations deploying to locations overseas. It also included military personnel involved with civil engagement activities and Army recruitment specialists who work with various ethnic communities across the UK.
Delegation champion Imam Asim Hafiz OBE, pictured above, is the MOD’s Islamic Religious Advisor.
He said: “We have a duty to commemorate what happened in Srebrenica. It is important to learn the lessons from Srebrenica on hatred and intolerance. If we do not challenge these evils then it is possible that what happened in Srebrenica can happen elsewhere, including the UK.
All of us living in Europe have a responsibility to ensure that the lessons are taken from Srebrenica and everyone has the opportunity to learn from them.”
Remembering Srebrenica is dedicated to raising awareness of the genocide, which saw 8,372 men and boys systematically murdered.
As well as meeting survivors and the Mothers of Srebrenica, during the four-day visit, the group visited the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial Complex where some 6,200 genocide victims are buried. They also visited the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP), in Sarajevo and Tuzla, which has played a key role in uniting families with their loved ones’ remains.
Speaking about the vist to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Minister for Armed Forces Penny Mordaunt said:
It is important for our Armed Forces to visit Srebrenica, and see for themselves the atrocious events that occurred there 20 years ago. It serves as a reminder to us all of what can happen when hatred, racism and intolerance permeate a country.”
Remembering Srebrenica organises the UK Srebrenica Memorial Week, which leads up to the EU-wide day of remembrance for victims of the genocide, Srebrenica Memorial Day, on 11 July. Its educational visit programme sees delegates pledge to organise projects in their communities to strengthen community cohesion and create a better society.
Remembering Srebrenica Chairman Dr Waqar Azmi OBE said:
Srebrenica demonstrates what happens when an integrated society disintegrates. The visit of our Ministry of Defence delegates to Srebrenica will, undoubtedly, inspire them to work with their military colleagues and civilian communities. This personal action will help to keep alive the memory of the genocide and play their part in strengthening communities across the UK.”