COVENTRY will join other cities and towns around the world to mark the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide.
Lord Mayor Coun Ann Lucas will join thousands of people in lighting a candle to remember the victims of the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War, which took place during the Bosnian War.
More than 8,000 mainly Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed, countless women were raped and over 25,000 people were forced from the area, suffering terrible abuse.
Events are held every year to ensure the victims are never forgotten and to help work towards peace. Srebrenica Memorial Week this year runs from July 5-12 and has the theme of ‘Every Action Matters’.
It is organised by Remembering Srebrenica, a British charity that works to counter discrimination and build stronger community relations.
Coventry opened its doors to many who lost their homes in the conflict, including some who had been kept in concentration camps, and is now home to around 500 families from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the former Yugoslavia.
Coun Lucas said: “It is so important for us all to remember the victims of the Srebrenica Genocide, not just on this 25th anniversary, but always.
“It is terrible to think that our own city’s work for peace began in the Second World War, and yet 50 years later, after everything mankind had seen, it was still possible for a genocide to occur and for hatred to be allowed to develop as it did.
“The stories of the victims remind us that we must never stop our city’s work to create a more peaceful, understanding world.”
Coventry City Council deputy leader Coun Abdul Salam Khan said: “This year’s theme of ‘Every Action Matters’ shows us that we all have a role to play and that our actions, no matter how small, can make a difference. It is a theme that fits our beliefs here in Coventry so well.
“As a City of Peace and Reconciliation and a City of Sanctuary, we work around the world and here at home to bring people together and to learn from the lessons of the past.
“Coventry is proud to stand alongside the people of Srebrenica to honour those we have lost, and to promise that their story will never be forgotten.”
Remembering Srebrenica is a charity that works throughout the year to combat extremism, hatred and discrimination and to build stronger communities. Visit www.srebrenica.org.uk for more information.