Peace organization PAX supports the survivors of the Srebrenica massacre and the next of kin of those who perished. It supports their campaigns for truth and justice, and organizes commemorations and stimulates dialogue between Dutch battalion members and Srebrenica widows, to increase feelings of recognition, foster mutual understanding and to help to deal with traumas on all sides. The Potocari Memorial Center is an important partner in all this work.
The Srebrenica drama unfolded during the war in Bosnia (1992-1995) in former Yugoslavia. More than 7,000 Muslim boys and men were murdered in the massacre. They were under the formal protection of a UN battalion made up of Dutch soldiers, called Dutchbatters.
In 2007, Kamp Westerbork and PAX organised a trip for Dutchbatters to revisit Srebrenica. This included a meeting with the women of Srebrenica. This meeting led to a series of subsequent meetings and activities. One such was our work with several Dutchbatters to locate a mass grave within the Dutchbat compound in Potocari that was unearthed in 2012.
Until now, it has been mostly male Dutchbat veterans that participated in these meetings and activities. In 2016, a group of female Duchtbat veterans approached PAX, and a new project was launched. It broadens the perspective of experiences of 1995, including stories of this group of female Dutchbat veterans that decided it was time to share their experiences and tell their side of the story, bringing new information and new perspectives to the fore.
More than 10 years ago, PAX started its support for the municipality of Srebrenica in conjunction with several Dutch municipalities. The municipality of Heumen is our most important partner in this neighbourhood action project.
A national commemoration of the genocide in Srebrenica is held every year in the Hague on July 11 at 15:00. Prior to the ceremony, participants take part in a peace march symbolizing how men tried to escape from Srebrenica by fleeing through the woods and mountains. On the same day, in Srebrenica itself, the remains of victims identified during the past year are buried at the Potocari Memorial Cemetery.
We support the campaign for truth and justice for surviving dependants and Srebrenica survivors. This campaign supports the lobby in Bosnia and Herzegovina that works for the arrest and trial of war criminals, the search for and identification of murder victims, the return of refugees to Srebrenica and the Srebrenica city government's advocacy on behalf of the massacre's survivors.