Association President Gavin Thomas is leading a group of senior police officers and educators to visit the site of Srebrenica genocide.
The visit is part of a four-day delegation organised by the UK Charity Remembering Srebrenica. Delegates will meet survivors of ethnic cleansing and genocide to hear first-hand how extremists deliberately stoked up ethnic and religious tensions to turn neighbours against neighbours and gain power after the fall of Yugoslavia.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, fear, mistrust and hatred were allowed to fester until an integrated society tore itself apart.
The visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina comes shortly after the latest crime figures showed that the number of recorded hate crimes directed at people because of their religious beliefs had increased by 40%. More than half of religious hate crime – 52% – was aimed at Muslims and high-profile incidents have included the ‘Punish a Muslim’ letters sent to addresses across the UK in March 2018.
Hateful propaganda proceeded a brutal campaign of genocide and ethnic cleansing that culminated with the slaughter of more than 8000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica on 11th July 1995.
“The lessons from history are clear. The road to genocide starts with divisive and hateful language – the rhetoric of “Us and Them”.
“It is everyone’s duty to reject intolerance, stand up to hatred and strive to make our communities inclusive.
“I am proud of the long-standing partnership between the police and Remembering Srebrenica.
“This year more than half of the constabularies in England commemorated the Srebrenica genocide and a number of police services have incorporated Remembering Srebrenica’s education materials into their hate crime training.”
Since being established in 2013, Remembering Srebrenica has taken more than 1,200 British citizens to Srebrenica to learn about the consequences of hatred.
On their return from the ‘Lessons from Srebrenica’ programme, delegates fulfil their pledge to tackle hatred by setting up social action projects and bringing communities together to remember the victims as well as becoming Community Champions.
Over the last five years, the charity has brought communities together by organising almost 5,500 Srebrenica memorial activities across the UK and has educated 75,000 young people about the dangers of hatred left unchecked. It has created 1,200 Community Champions Against Hate in local communities across the UK.
A number of police services have incorporated the Remembering Srebrenica’s ‘Ten Stages of Genocide’ education pack into their hate crime awareness training for new officers. Education materials and other resources are available here.