Press   >    Press Release   >   
  • Lessons to today’s Europe from Srebrenica (Bosnia and Herzegovina), 24 years on

  • July 11th is the international Memorial Day for Srebrenica genocide.


    In many places in Europe and around the world commemoration events are organised to remember the victims of this horrific crime.


    Individuals, politicians and international diplomats gather every year in Srebrenica to pay the tribute to more than 8,000 people who were brutally murdered in the worst massacre in Europe since WW2 and which was officially ruled as genocide by the International Court of Justice


    Srebrenica genocide was just the conclusion of several years of systematic displacement, ethnic cleansing, mass murder and war crimes against hundreds of thousands of people in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s, but it actually started decades earlier as the hate propaganda against 'the others'.


    Remembering Srebrenica should mean that we learn(ed) the lessons from what happened and to prevent it from ever happening again, recognising the mechanisms that caused it and which made the genocide possible.

    Remembering Srebrenica is to learn and to understand how thoughts, ideas and words can turn into hate and threats and ultimately lead to terrible crimes. Not least when we daily testify how hate propaganda against minorities is normalised in Europe.


    It is truly frightening to see how the same kind of far-right, nationalist and Islamophobic hate rhetoric, which once was part of the hate propaganda during the Balkan War in the 90s, is now flourishing freely in our media outlets and is used in Europe and the wider world.


    Now that we know that such hate propaganda (and even the Balkan war crimes) has sadly already inspired far-right extremists in Western democracies (such as Anders Breivik in Norway and Brenton Tarrant in New Zeeland) to move from words to action, we must be even more determined to safeguard our societies’ fundamental principles of  freedom, equality, democracy.  We must actively defend the values ​​of humanity that, in today's Europe, unfortunately can no longer be taken for granted.


    It is also important to understand that genocide is not just a tragedy of ONE people. Genocide constitutes a crime against all humanity and the ideas that lead to it are a threat to us all.


    One of the survivors of Srebrenica once said, "What happened in Srebrenica can happen anywhere. It can happen in your country if you let wrong people come to power."


    More about Srebrenica genocide can be found here:

    Photo: by Tarik Samarah 2015, 'Mother from Srebrenica outside Anne Frank's house'

  • 11.07.2019
European Forum of Muslim Women EFOMW
Rue Archimède 50, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium