Cllr John Cotton, Cabinet Member for Social Justice, Community Safety and Equalities, reflects on why it is important to remember those who lost their lives in the genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995.
This year, we are recognising the 27th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica, during which more than 8,000 men and boys were systematically murdered – simply because they were Muslim.
On Monday (11 July), we are commemorating the thousands who lost their lives during the 11-day massacre in the Bosnian town, in the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War by ligting the Library of Birmingham.
As an organisation that works with Remembering Srebrenica, we believe that we must ensure that we never forget about the genocide and reaffirm our commitment to standing up against all forms of hatred and prejudice that targets groups based on their religion, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or any type of difference.
This year’s twin-aimed theme – Combatting Denial, Challenging Hatred – seeks to shine a light on the importance of combatting denial and the need to confront the hatred behind the denial of such atrocities.
In the UK, communities are only too aware of the damaging impact that denial can have for individuals and community cohesion.
Home Office figures reveal a worrying trend across the country in which the number of hate crimes recorded have doubled in the space of five years. Reported hate crimes have increased by nine per cent since last year to a record 124,091 – with nearly 75 per cent of those incidents being racially-motivated crimes.
Now it is more important than ever for us to come together as people in the UK, no matter what our background, to celebrate diversity and to stand together in solidarity against hatred and discrimination.
We hope you will join us in mourning the loss of those who died at Srebrenica, and reflecting on how we as individuals, groups and communities can come together to build a better future without hatred.