In 1994-5 I worked as an aid worker in Bosnia and Serbia, during the war. Then, four years later I returned to lead the Christian Aid Bosnia Office, rebuilding villages in north-west Bosnia and supporting the return of refugees.
In June, I revisited Bosnia and visited the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial.
It was emotional to return for the first time since I was an aid worker. With elections in September 2022, threats of violence increasing, and genocide denial on the rise, I joined MPs and Bosnian Ambassador, Matt Field, to meet with the Mayor of Tuzla and with young people to talk about the issues they are facing and their fears and hopes for the future. I was inspired by young people, including Slobodan and Almara from the Youth Resource Centre and ‘Revolt’, who are challenging corruption & taking action using art, social media and campaigns. Together, we laid a wreath in memory of the 71 killed in the 1995 Tuzla massacre.
Our cross-party group of MPs also visited the International Commission for Missing Persons, which has painstakingly identified the bodies of over 7,000 of the 8,300 people killed in Srebrenica. It was harrowing, but I have massive respect for their essential work.
Read my article about how the UK must help Bosnia against Putin here.