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09 July 2018

Srebrenica survivor to share experience at Cumbria House

A survivor of the Srebrenica massacre will be sharing her experiences with staff and members of Cumbria County Council at a special event to mark Srebrenica Memorial Week 2018 on Wednesday 11 July at Cumbria House in Carlisle. This will be an opportunity to learn more about the Bosnian War and the genocide at Srebrenica, and remember this significant episode in modern history.

Elvira Mujkanovic turned 18 on the day war broke out in May 1992, when the Bosnian Serb Army moved in to turn the primary school in her home village of Trnopolje in the north of Bosnia into a concentration camp.  Several years of intense fighting and the forced displacement of Bosnian Muslims, including the separation of families followed.

In July 1995, a genocidal massacre took place in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, in the far east of the country, carried out by Bosnian Serb forces under the command of General Ratko Mladić, who was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2017 for war crimes and his role in the genocide.  Approximately 8,000 Bosnian Muslims were murdered. The victims were mostly men, ranging from teenagers to the elderly. The massacre in Srebrenica is one of the most horrific events of the Bosnian War and remains the single largest mass murder on European soil since World War Two.

An exhibition to remember the victims and survivors will also be available to view online via the county council website.

Cllr Deborah Earl, cabinet member for communities, said:

“It's very important that we learn from the past to create a better future.  Srebrenica Memorial Week is a time for us all to remember the millions of people killed under regimes of hatred or who have suffered atrocities.

“It is also a time to recognise that there are still people today who are persecuted because of their sex, race, gender and religious beliefs.

“Cumbria has welcomed and provided a safe haven for those who suffered from the Holocaust and the Bosnian genocide.  In times of trouble, the generous people of Cumbria open their doors and hearts to survivors.

“I’m delighted that Elvira has kindly and bravely offered to share her experiences, the discussion will highlight the continuing need for understanding between different cultures and I would urge people to take a little time to view the online exhibition and other websites to understand more about this dark chapter of modern history.”

Dr Waqar Azmi OBE, Chair of the Remembering Srebrenica organisation, said:

“The theme for Srebrenica Memorial Week this year is ‘Acts of Courage’ which serves as a reminder that hope, and the common bonds of humanity can triumph in the darkest of times. We are all invited to draw strength and inspiration from those who, during the genocide and ethnic cleansing in Europe’s worst atrocity since the Second World War, were bold enough to resist an ideology of division, protect their neighbours and speak out for truth and justice.

“The baton of courage has now been passed on.  It is up to us to learn the lessons from Srebrenica.”


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A survivor of the Srebrenica massacre will be sharing her experiences with staff and members of Cumbria County Council at a special event to mark Srebrenica Memorial Week 2018 on Wednesday 11 July at Cumbria House in Carlisle.