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Police chief: Srebrenica lessons will inform hate crime approach

More than 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in July 1995 by Bosnian Serb forces amid the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.

The interim leader of Police Scotland has said lessons taken from a trip to meet survivors of the Srebrenica genocide will be reflected in the force’s tackling of hate crime.

Iain Livingstone travelled to Bosnia and Herzegovina this week with Remembering Srebrenica (Scotland), a charity that organises commemoration events and wants people to learn from the lessons of the past and highlight the potential for ethnic tensions to escalate into violence.

More than 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in July 1995 by Bosnian Serb forces amid the break-up of the former Yugoslavia – Europe’s worst atrocity since the Second World War.

Many Scottish politicians have previously travelled to the region as part of the Scottish Government-funded project.

Mr Livingstone was part of a delegation including politicians, journalists, and school teachers.

He said: “I was deeply moved to hear of the pain and suffering endured by the people of Bosnia.

“It is frankly staggering how such a diverse inclusive society descended into one that allowed another genocide to occur just 50 years after we said ‘never again’.

“I am committed to firmly rejecting the promotion of hatred, the stigmatisation of groups and discrimination in Scotland.

“The lessons I have taken from Srebrenica must be reflected in Police Scotland’s ongoing approach to upholding human rights and combating hatred.”

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The Lessons from Srebrenica programme delegation at Potocari memorial centre (Remembering Srebrenica (Scotland)/PA)

Each delegate on the “Lessons from Srebrenica” programme, pledges to carry out an activity on their return to Scotland designed to raise awareness of the risks of hatred, racism and intolerance – using Srebrenica as an example.

Remembering Srebrenica (Scotland) secretary and fellow police officer David Hamilton said: “Iain Livingstone’s presence and therefore support to the survivors of the Bosnian Genocide is appreciated by all who were touched by this war and the charity sincerely thanks him for taking the time to visit and learn.

“He is the latest of a series of senior Scottish figures to visit to Srebrenica, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Johann Lamont, Ruth Davidson and Kezia Dugdale – reflecting the particularly strong ties Scotland has had with the country during and after the war.”

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