Srebrenica atrocity remembered at St Giles’ 20 years on

Nicola Sturgeon meets women who lost relatives at Srebrenica. Picture: Neil Hanna
Nicola Sturgeon meets women who lost relatives at Srebrenica. Picture: Neil Hanna
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A survivor of the Srebrenica genocide and relatives of those killed were among crowds who attended a memorial service in Edinburgh to mark the 20th anniversary of the atrocity.

They joined 150 guests, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, for the event at St Giles’ Cathedral yesterday.

Almost 8,400 mainly Bosnian Muslim men and boys were murdered in Srebrenica on July 11, 1995, during the ­Bosnian war.

The service, organised by the UK charitable initiative Remembering Srebrenica, and the First Minister’s office, is part of a series of UK commemorative events.

Those gathered were addressed by Nura Begovic, who was joined by other Srebrenica mothers Nura Mustafic, Aisa Omerovic, Refija Hadjibulic and genocide survivor Nedzad Avdic.

Ms Sturgeon also spoke at the service, which was led by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Rev Dr Angus Morrison.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Today, two decades on from the genocide at Srebrenica, we honour both its victims and survivors in our commemorations.

“We must also pause and realise the real consequences of allowing hatred and division to go unchallenged. We must recognise our responsibility to ensure that diversity is celebrated and protected so that everyone, regardless of their race, faith or nationality, can feel safe and be safe in their own communities.”

Remembering Srebrenica Scotland board chair, the Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood, said: “Today’s service gives the people of Scotland the opportunity to stand alongside our brothers and sisters from Srebrenica in their pain and continued fight for justice.

“Their stories remind us that Srebrenica was the black hole of humanity and marks our failure in letting such genocide happen in our lifetime.

“But we dispel the darkness of this inhuman crime with representatives from our youth organisations praying for the future, whilst leaders from our faith communities light candles symbolising our dedication to work together for peace and respect for our common humanity.”

The service was followed by a reception at Parliament Hall, hosted by the First Minister.

Other commemorative events include services at Westminster Abbey in London and the Welsh assembly building in Cardiff.

Remembering Srebrenica UK chairman Dr Waqar Azmi said: “This year is the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica – the single greatest atrocity committed on European soil since the Second World War and a brutal reminder of man’s inhumanity to man.

“Today’s memorial service in Scotland is about honouring the victims and learning the lessons from the past to help illuminate the future by involving people of all faiths and none to help build a better, safer and cohesive society for all.”