The Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Jean Fooks, will host a short reflection service to commemorate Srebrenica Memorial Day at 1pm, Tuesday 11 July at Oxford Town Hall.
The service will honour the victims and survivors of the Srebrenica genocide and pledge to create a better, stronger and more cohesive society in the United Kingdom.
Members of the public and council staff are welcome to attend.
Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Jean Fooks said: “The genocide in Srebrenica should never be forgotten. It is essential that we learn from the horrific events that took place; we must learn to stand up to racism, Islamophobia and hateful forms of nationalism, and to stand up to sexual violence against women and girls. This memorial service is an opportunity to come together as a city in solidarity with people from all walks of life to challenge identity based hatred and oppression.”
This year’s theme is ‘Breaking the Silence: Gender and Genocide’. During the service candles will be lit to highlight the consequences of hatred and intolerance and the need to take action now to build better and safer communities for all.
In July 1995, Bosnian Serb forces, led by General Ratko Mladić overran and captured the town of Srebrenica in Eastern Bosnia, which had been declared a UN Safe Area in 1993. In the days following Srebrenica’s fall, more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were systematically massacred and buried in mass graves. Thousands of women, children and elderly people were forcibly deported. Srebrenica was the culmination of a campaign of ‘ethnic cleansing’ used during the conflict by Bosnian Serb forces to achieve their aim of forming a ‘Greater Serbia’ free from Bosnian Muslims. Throughout Bosnia, between 20,000 and 50,000 women and girls suffered rape and sexual violence; a weapon of war used to systematically ‘ethnically cleanse’ communities and terrorise them into fleeing.
The service is expected to last about 30 minutes.