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Delegates witness legacy of Srebrenica’s genocide from Yugoslavia’s bloody civil war

Seyi Akiwowo Seyi Akiwowo

Tuesday, December 10, 2013
7:00 AM

Charity worker Seyi Akiwowo has returned home to east London from a delegation to Bosnia looking into the genocide during the Yugoslav civil war.

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Mothers and wives of SrebrenicaMothers and wives of Srebrenica

She was one of 24 ‘young leaders’ from all over Britain selected by the Remembering Srebrenica charity to “see the consequences of hatred.”

The 22-year-old former Newham Youth Council member met mothers of some of the 8,700 men and boys handed over to Serbian forces at the UN’s Srebrenica “safe haven” enclave in 1995 who were later murdered.

“It was emotional meeting the mothers,” she said. “I met one woman who lost 37 family members. We also saw the gruesome remains of the victims whose skeletons were recovered from makeshift graves after the war.”

Seyi was back at her home in West Ham on Thursday after a four-day “eye opener” into what happened when Yugoslavia collapsed into bloody civil war in the 1990s.

Refugees in flight in 1995Refugees in flight in 1995

“This was a crime against humanity,” she continued. “It seems the lesson hadn’t been learned from the Holocaust of the Second World War.”

Seyi was nominated for the delegation by the charity she works for, Young Advisors, which runs youth advisory services in east London.

The aim of the delegation was “to teach the leaders of tomorrow the lessons from Srebrenica.”

The Srebrenica charity’s Waqar Azni said: “Srebrenica was supposed to be a safe UN refuge, but 8,700 men and boys were handed over to Serbian forces and later killed.

"This crime against humanity seems the lesson hadn’t been learned from the Holocaust of the Second World War"

Seyi Akiwowo

“It was the crime that shamed Europe.

“Our delegates returned from Bosnia as ‘champions’ to say they have witnessed the result of hatred, to be motivated and work to improve society.”

Organisers plan an annual memorial day after their first event at Lancaster House on July 11 to remember Srebrenica which was attended by leaders from around world. South Africa’s Nelson Mandella, who died last week, was too ill to attend.

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