MSPs come together to remember Bosnian genocide victims
MSPs from all parties have joined together to remember genocide victims in Bosnia-Herzegovina and tackle hatred.
Politicians gathered to mark White Armband Day at a special event at the Scottish Parliament hosted by Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and Labour MSP Johann Lamont.
Bosnian communities worldwide observe White Armband Day on May 31 – the day in 1992 that Bosnian Serb authorities in the town of Prijedor decreed non-Serbs must mark their houses with white flags or bedsheets and wear white armbands outside the home.
During the war, 3,173 people were killed in the town as a programme of ethnic cleansing was pursued.
A quarter of a century on, MSPs at the Holyrood event on Wednesday signed a pledge to honour the victims of genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
They also agreed to promote Remembering Srebrenica’s education pack which is designed to raise awareness of the potential for ethnic tensions to escalate into violence and promote learning of the lessons from the past, following the murder of 8,372 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces on a single day in 1995.
Ms Lamont said: “Genocide is a gradual process, the seeds of which are sown when social and cultural differences are not celebrated, but used as reasons to exclude or marginalise.
“To think that, only 25 years ago, people were being marked for extermination in the heart of Europe purely on the grounds of their faith just 50 years after the Holocaust is horrendous. We need to ensure that our young people learn about this and do everything we can to stop it from happening again.”
Ms Davidson said she became involved with Remembering Srebrenica after visiting Bosnia to meet genocide survivors and victims’ relatives.
She said: “They want to share their stories because the lessons of what happened there are still so relevant today and can be used in tackling the problems in other countries.
“As MSPs, we must all be bold in leading efforts to tackle hatred and bring our communities together.”