On Thursday, 9 July, Portsmouth City Council remembered those who lost their lives during the 1995 genocide in Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina, by raising the Bosnia-Herzegovina and Remembering Srebrenica flags outside the Civic Offices.
This July marks 25 years since the genocide in which over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were murdered in the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War.
The Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson; Lord Mayor, Councillor Rob Wood; and Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo, Resident Alim / Imam, Wessex Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat – Al Mahdi Centre, joined together in Guildhall Square to raise the flags, commemorate the victims and honour the survivors.
The organisation behind the nationwide commemoration, Remembering Srebrenica, works to promote a society free from hatred and is marking the 25th anniversary of the tragedy with the theme ‘Every Action Matters’. The charity is encouraging every person to reflect upon their own behaviour and choices and aims to demonstrate that, however insignificant they may seem, every action matters.
During his address at the flag raising ceremony, Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo, Resident Alim / Imam, Wessex Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat – Al Mahdi Centre, said: “We learn from Srebrenica, that hatred and intolerance can flourish if left unchallenged. On the 25th anniversary of Srebrenica, we honour the victims and survivors of the genocide, and pledge ourselves to creating a better, stronger and more cohesive society in the United Kingdom.”
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, comments: “This week Portsmouth marked 25 years since the atrocities in Srebrenica by raising the Bosnia-Herzegovinan flag and joining with Remembering Srebrenica to commemorate those who lost their lives and honour the survivors. This significant anniversary serves as a poignant reminder that we must all stand up to hatred and intolerance in our communities.”