Council leaders in Sunderland joined an international event to remember the Srebrenica Genocide, the worst atrocity in Europe since the Second World War.
The theme for this year’s international commemoration is ‘Breaking the Silence: Gender and Genocide’ with a programme of events in the city including the raising of the Srebrenica flag at the Civic Centre by the Mayor of Sunderland Coun Doris MacKnight, followed by a minute’s silence.
Guests invited to the ceremony included members of Sunderland’s Interfaith Forum representing religious groups and churches across the city.
Later today Penshaw Monument will be lit up green in honour of all those who lost their lives 22 years ago.
Coun MacKnight, said: “I am proud to represent the people of our city at the raising of the Srebrenica flag and in raising public awareness of this international day of commemoration.
“This year’s theme of ‘breaking the silence’ helps spread the message that we should never forget the horrors of war faced by families and civilians and the extraordinary courage displayed by Bosnian women both during the conflict and in the aftermath.
“Remembering the sacrifice and suffering of all those affected helps bring people of all faiths together in the name of humanity.
"Commemorative events here and across the world will help honour the victims of Srebrenica and raise awareness about the significance of building a cohesive society.”
After the flag raising there were prayers and readings, including a written account from a 13-year-iold Muslim girl who fled the city with her mother, but lost her father and brother in the atrocity.
It was read by Tahira Iqbal who said: "It is so important that we gather to remember this day and all those who lost their lives, and the suffering of the women and children.
"Every human being is important no matter what ethnicity, country or religion they belong to. Everyone deserves mutual respect."