Bute’s MSP says a visit to the site of the worst genocide on European soil since the Second World War was vital in ensuring the atrocity is never repeated.
Michael Russell was part of a Scottish delegation who visited the town of Srebrenica, where eight thousand Bosnian Muslims were killed in July 1995.
Mr Russell was part of a nine-strong group who visited the area as part of the ‘Lessons from Srebrenica’ educational programme.
“Nothing prepares you for the visceral experience of hearing from survivors of the genocide at Srebrenica,” he said, “but the harrowing experience is a vital one if those who come here go away determined that it should never be forgotten and never repeated.
“We all need to understand that if it happened here it could happen anywhere.”
The group, who travelled to Bosnia with the UK charity Remembering Srebrenica, was led by the Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood, former moderator of teh General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
It also included the Solicitor General for Scotland, Lesley Thomson, and Labour spokesperson on health and equalities Jenny Marra MSP.
Dr Hood, who received an award from the British Government in July this year for her work to commemorate and learn lessons from the Srebrenica genocide, said: “This is a group of people who are influential in Scottish public life and who are deeply affected by the experience we are sharing in Bosnia.
Already, our delegates are thinking about how they can use what they have seen and heard within their own spheres of influence to help shape a better society in Scotland.”
“This is the second time I have led a Remembering Srebrenica visit - the power of this experience never diminishes. Bosnia was an integrated society which disintegrated; that genocide happened here is a sober reminder that it can happen anywhere, unless we learn to respect and appreciate our differences.”