England Women learn more about 1995 Balkans conflict

Monday 11 Jul 2016
The FA teamed up with 'Remembering Srebrenica' to release a special film featuring the England Women’s team

Today is Srebrenica Memorial Day.

To mark it, The FA teamed up with the Remembering Srebrenica charity by releasing a special film featuring the England Women’s team.

Srebrenica Memorial Day takes place on 11 July every year to remember the 8,372 Bosnian Muslim men and boys who were systematically massacred and buried in mass graves during the Balkans conflict in 1995.

Thousands of women, children and elderly people were forcibly deported and a large number of women were raped.

It was the greatest atrocity on European soil since the Second World War.

The International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia ruled that the mass execution of Bosnian men and boys in Srebrenica constituted genocide.

Earlier this year, representatives from the Remembering Srebrenica charity, an organisation committed to raising awareness around the massacre, gave a talk to Mark Sampson’s squad ahead of their Euro 2017 qualifier against Bosnia, to teach them a little about the history of Srebrenica, the massacre, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Rimla Akhtar, FA council and Inclusion Advisory Board member, was instrumental in the collaboration.

She said: “Remembering Srebrenica is a fantastic charity that looks at the lessons we can learn from Srebrenica and applying them here in the UK.

“It’s doing a fantastic job in terms of taking people out there [to] ensure that the mothers and the victims are never forgotten.”

Lionesses defender Casey Stoney found the session an important way of acknowledging the small but important role football can play in overcoming tragedy and bringing people together.

She added: “It was very emotional and something that we should never forget.

“We don’t just play football, we are ambassadors and we have the power to make change. Football has the power to do that. It speaks so many languages and brings people together.

“There are some incredible women in that country, some remarkable women that went through absolute hell but they’re still here to tell the tale and still fighting.”

Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion organisation, is supporting a nationwide football tournament this Wednesday to remember those lost in the genocide.

In addition, Remembering Srebrenica also runs an educational programme called ‘Lessons from Srebrenica’ which takes UK citizens to Bosnia-Herzegovina to learn the lessons from the genocide and helps them to set up projects to create more cohesive communities.

Find out more by visiting www.srebrenica.org.uk.

By FA Staff