On the 11th of July 1995, a massacre took place in the town of Srebrenica, the worst episode of violence to take place during the Bosnian War.

After the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina gained independence from Former Yugoslavia in 1992, the Bosnian War began between the different populations of the country: the Muslim Bosniacs, the Serbs, and the Croats. The Serb forces in the region were opposed to independence, and sought to bring the territory, which was occupied by a majority of Bosniacs, under their control. Previously peaceful neighbourhoods were thrown into conflict, with neighbours from different backgrounds turning against each other, and many being forced to flee their homes.

Many of these people fled to the town of Srebrenica, which was supposed to be a UN safe zone. However, on the 11th of July, Serbian forces closed in on the city, and rounded up Muslim men and boys to be publicly executed. Within a few days, over 8000 men and boys were killed, and more than 20,000 people were expelled from the area. The Srebrenica massacre was specifically targeted at Muslim Bosniacs, making it the worst instance of genocide in Europe since World War Two.  

Every year the massacre in Srebrenica is commemorated across the world, with people coming together to remember those who were killed, and the massive impact that their loss had on the family members left behind. The mass graves that hold the bodies of those murdered are still being excavated, and the effort to identify and rebury the victims of July 1995 is ongoing.

This year, The Peace Museum participated in an event commemorating Srebrenica in Bradford city centre, in which organisations from across West Yorkshire and Kirklees decorated flower boxes with messages of remembrance and hope. As well as using the day to reflect on the impact of the violence, the event was an opportunity to highlight the need for peace and acceptance of different communities. If we continue to remember the terrible events of the Srebrenica genocide, hopefully such an event will never be able to happen again.

For more information visit Remembering Srebrenica - Remembering the Bosnian Genocide