Both at home in their constituencies and in the Parliament MEPs have been commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, when more than 8000 Muslim men and boys were murdered in an act of ethnic cleansing that the world failed to prevent.
On July 9th 2015 the European Parliament adopted a Resolution on the importance of remembering the terrible events in Srebrenica two decades ago, and stressing the need for continued reconciliation.
The Resolution concerns one of the worst war crimes in modern history; on July 11th 1995, the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, which was declared a Protected Zone by the UN, was captured by Bosnian Serb forces. In the days that followed more than 8,000 innocent men and boys were murdered in a brazen act that shocked the world. The effects of the genocide continue to be felt today as families still search for the remains of their loved ones and survivors try to rebuild their lives. In addition, many women and girls were raped during the conflict, leaving emotional scars that are hard to erase.
Julie, who is a member of the Parliament’s Delegation to Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo, has met Bosnian women survivors and other women who stand with them in solidarity as they continue to bear witness to the terrible atrocities and try to rebuild their lives.
Julie contributed to the European Parliament's Resolution highlighting the role of inter-cultural dialogue, the media, culture, and arts in the process of reconciliation.
Ahead of the Resolution being adopted, Julie said:
“The testimony and stories of the victims of the genocide is important for us to listen to and remember. It is through these stories being told and recognised by others that true reconciliation could emerge.”
“Arts and culture is at the heart of societies, shaping and promoting distinct identities as well as being a tool for problem solving, conflict resolution, reconciliation and sharing common values and concerns. The unique power of arts and culture to bring us closer together in mutual respect and understanding can play a vital role in respect of the Srebrenica Genocide.”
As the Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg came to a close, Julie flew out to Srebrenica to attend commemoration ceremonies, and meet with local civil society organisations and youth organisations, as well as genocide survivors. Julie plans to spend ten days this this summer volunteering with a pan-European youth arts and reconciliation project in Srebrenica called The Complete Freedom of Truth.