South Tyneside to honour victims and survivors of Srebrenica genocide
South Tyneside is set to honour the victims and survivors of the Srebrenica genocide with an virtual tribute this week.
Sunday, July 11, marks the 26th anniversary of the atrocities in Bosnia and Herzegovina where the Bosnian Serb Army marched into Srebrenica and killed more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys.
The borough traditionally marks UK National Srebrenica Memorial Day with a poignant memorial service at South Shields Town Hall.
However, due to the ongoing pandemic, the council is hosting commemorations on its online channels on Sunday at 11am.
The virtual tribute will include readings, including a letter written by a survivor of the genocide, as well as a candle-lighting ceremony in honour of those who lost their lives, and South Shields Town Hall will be lit up green.
Communities across South Tyneside are encouraged to light a candle in their own home as part of the tribute.
The Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Pat Hay said: "Remembering Srebrenica is an incredibly important commemorative event in which we remember all those who were killed and honour all those who survived the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War.
“Srebrenica reminds us how easily misinformation can be used to spread fear and hatred. It is important that we stand up to prejudice and discrimination in all its forms and educate our future generations about the devastating consequences that can ensue if such negative attitudes against others are allowed to go unchecked and unchallenged.
"By uniting against hatred and intolerance in our communities we can look to build stronger, safer and more resilient society.
“We’re calling on our communities to join us for our special online tribute, as we pay our respects, light a candle in memory of all the victims and honour the survivors. Despite their pain and suffering and the trauma of losing loved ones and their livelihood, they have shown enormous strength and resilience in their inspiring stories of survival and the pursuit of justice.”
This year's theme, ‘Rebuilding Lives' encourages people to reflect on the horrors of this period as well as shine a light on the two million people who were displaced and forced to rebuild their lives in various places throughout the world.
More than 10,000 Bosnians found refuge in the UK.