London: BH UK Network, an umbrella organisation of Bosnian communities in the UK based in Birmingham, together with MP Alicia Kearns and the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Bosnia and Herzegovina organised the celebration of the Independence Day of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The event was held in the Parliament of Great Britain (Jubilee Room), with the presence of a large number of British parliamentarians and Lords including the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons Dame Rosie Winterton, Lord Randall of Uxbridge Alicia Kearns, Bob Stewart, Wayne David, Martin Vickers, Afzal Khan, Fleur Anderson , Marco Longhi, Jim Shannon, Ian Levy, Saqib Bhatti, James Gray, Sarah Atherton, Margaret Ferrier, Wendy Morton, Roger Gale, Jane Stevenson, Shaun Bailey, John Spellar, as well as representatives of the UK Foreign Office, the Embassy of BiH and BiH UK Network and other distinguished guests.
The large number of British parliamentarians at the celebration of the Independence Day of Bosnia and Herzegovina is confirmation that the UK is a friend of our homeland.
The patron of the BH UK Network, MP, chairperson of the all-party parliamentary group for Bosnia and Herzegovina, welcomed us. “Thank you for coming today to celebrate 31 years of independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is a great joy to host the BiH Independence Day celebration for the second year in a row. I hope this is the second of 31 more celebrations, but it is so nice to gather the Bosnian community in the Parliament of the UK because this is your parliament. You make such a huge contribution to our country in our communities, and it is simply a joy to celebrate BiH Independence Day. It’s a land that captures your heart, it’s a land of magic and beauty and joy and people who want to open up their culture and their food and their society to all of us.” Kearns said.
In his address, the ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Kingdom, Vanja Filipović, first of all thanked the hosts of this gathering in the British Parliament, MP Alicia Kearns, and BH UK Network, for arranging a parliamentary reception on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ambassador Filipović pointed out that this is an important national holiday that is imbued with positive emotions and a sense of national pride, but also sadness over the huge human and material price that our country and its citizens paid in order to preserve their independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Just as it is the case in Ukraine, they tried to suppress the democratic will of the vast majority of citizens who voted for the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its European path, with military aggression and then with an attempt to segregate citizens and peoples, as well as the final division of territories and the disappearance of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Herzegovina. Unfortunately, the ambassador reminded, efforts to achieve these same goals are still being conducted today using other methods. Therefore, the ambassador stressed, the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina count on the continuous support and friendship of the parliament and the Government of the United Kingdom, which they have confirmed many times until now, as well as today, that our country has a strong friend and partner in the United Kingdom.
Those present were also addressed by dr. Anes Cerić, manager of BH UK Network. While reminding that the United Kingdom is a leading country on the international scene when it comes to supporting peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he used the opportunity to thank Alicia Kearns, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Government of Great Britain for their continuous support to both our homeland and Bosnia and Herzegovina. community on the Island. “We are extremely happy and proud that our community, which survived genocide and ethnic cleansing and found refuge in Great Britain, is today celebrating the Independence Day of our homeland in the British Parliament. We thank you for your solidarity and support, it really means a lot to us. As a small gesture of our thanks, we hope you will enjoy our gift for everyone in attendance – a mug, coffee and baklava to join British Bosnians and Herzegovinians across the UK in toasting our homeland’s Independence Day and thinking of the thousands people killed in genocide and ethnic cleansing who can no longer drink coffee with us.” Dr. stated. Ceric
Martin Vickers MP, the British Government’s trade envoy for the Western Balkans region and vice-president of the APPG expressed the hope that trade and prosperity between our two countries will increase in the coming period: “Now is an excellent opportunity for British companies to invest in Bosnia and Herzegovina and beyond the region. My role is to encourage and support them in this goal. There is a lot of work to be done, I look forward to working with you and the companies based in Bosnia and look forward to my next visit in mid-May.”
Fleur Anderson MO was reminded by the entire atmosphere at the event of her days spent in our homeland: “It’s wonderful to be here and feel the wonderful taste of Bosnia, as if I was back in Bihać eating one of those pastries. Let me just say that we are different parties, but absolutely united in our support for Bosnia. During the war I lived in Banja Luka and in 1999 I returned for a year with my baby and husband to rebuild villages with the help of Christian aid, working with the EU and I absolutely love Bosnia. It’s such a beautiful country with such wonderful people – thank you so much for holding this event in Parliament where we can celebrate Bosnia and all that it is.”