Fifty years after the world said “Never Again” to the horrors of the Holocaust, genocide took place on European soil.
The name Srebrenica has become synonymous with those dark days in July 1995 when, in the first ever United Nations declared safe area, thousands of men and boys were systematically murdered and buried in mass graves. The victims, who were Muslim, were selected for death on the basis of their identity. This was the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War.
The Lord Mayor of Leeds will lead the city in remembering the 8,372 victims of the Srebrenica Genocide this Sunday, the 11th of July, in a civic commemoration event marking the 26th anniversary of the genocide. The theme of this Year’s Day is ‘Rebuilding Lives’ with events across the United Kingdom aiming to remember the victims of Srebrenica and shine a light on the plight of the two million people who were displaced during the genocide and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia in the 1990s.
Uniting with leaders from Leeds and Bradford Council, the Lord Mayor, Councillor Asghar Khan will lay a wreath on the Leeds Civic Hall steps in order to commemorate the victims of hate and to reconfirm both cities pledges to tackle hatred and prejudice wherever and whenever they encounter them.
The Lord Mayor will be joined by the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Shabir Hussain, Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Deputy Leader of Leeds Council and Councillor Salma Arif, Executive Member for Public Health and Active Lifestyles at the private ceremony of remembrance.
Two window boxes created by Shakespeare and Brudenell primary schools, that commemorate the victims of the Srebrenica Genocide will also be present at the wreath laying, unfortunately due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic pupils from both schools will be unable to attend the event and instead will be reflecting at home.
The event at the Leeds Civic Hall is part of two days of events of remembrance across West Yorkshire. The Lord Mayor will accompany the two window boxes to Bradford on Monday the 12th and will represent the city of Leeds and the pupils of Shakespeare and Brudenell primary schools in the wider commemoration of the victims of the genocide and the sharing of messages of remembrance and hope.
The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Asghar Khan said:
“Remembering the Srebrenica Genocide allows us to reflect on important lessons around the necessity of combatting hate and division in all forms. It is important that as a city we continue to champion diversity and commit to our shared responsibility to ensure that everyone feels safe and is safe in their communities, regardless of their race, faith or nationality.”
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Deputy Leader of Council and Executive Member for Economy, Culture and Education said:
“Sunday marks the annual National Srebrenica Memorial Day and it is important to remember the pain and suffering caused by the Srebrenica genocide and to reflect on the lessons learnt. We must continue to strive to remember the events and continue our work in making Leeds an inclusive city where everyone feels welcome.”