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Convener represents isles at Srebrenica memorial

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met with genocide survivors, Azir Asmanović and Nedžad Avdić, and with Srebrenica mothers, who lost husbands, sons, fathers and brothers in the atrocity. Photo: Scottish Government

SIC convener Malcolm Bell travelled to Edinburgh yesterday to represent the islands at a poignant memorial service marking 20 years since the Srebrenica genocide.

In one of four memorials in each UK state this week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon spoke during a memorial service at St Giles Cathedral.

Srebrenica Memorial Day commemorates the men and boys systematically murdered in the small Bosnian town in July 1995 during the Balkans conflict.

The service was organised by Remembering Srebrenica and was led by the Church of Scotland’s Reverend Angus Morrison.

Bell said: “It was a very poignant service, particularly a testimony from a mother of Srebrenica.

“I think it’s important that Shetland takes a full part in these things and stands with the rest of the country against the massacre and genocide that took place 20 years ago.

“It is very recent. In fact, it’s difficult to believe it is 20 years – it seems more recent than that somehow – but it was a dreadful event.

“I was watching a television programme [earlier this week] about it, and it’s very important that we don’t forget these things, and Shetland ought to play a part in the national act of remembrance.”

The council convener added that he had paid for his own travel to attend the remembrance service.

Sturgeon said: “Two decades on from the genocide at Srebrenica, we honour both its victims and survivors in our commemorations.

“We must also pause and realise the real consequences of tolerating allowing hatred and division to go unchallenged.

“We must recognise our responsibility to ensure that diversity is celebrated and protected so that everyone, regardless of their race, faith or nationality, can feel safe and be safe in their own communities.”

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