Aiding Bosnia

During November two members from a remarkable group of women, the Women of Srebrenica, will visit Man-chester. During the war in Bosnia, the Women of Sreb-renica lost 10,000 of their men. There are now 29,000 women from Sreb-renica living as refugees in Bosnia.

Almasa Alic and Emira Selimovic will visit Britain. Almasa lived in Srebrenica; a UN designated "safe area" with her family until 1993. In the exodus to Potocari her husband and her elder son were killed. She now lives in Tuzla with her son. Emira lived in Nova Kasaba until 1993 when her family was forced to move by "ethnic cleansing". They lived in Srebrenica until July 1995 when she was forced to go to Tuzla. Her father was "taken" in Potocari.

In the UN-designated "safe area" of Srebrenica, the Bosnian Serb Army carried out ethnic cleansing. Under the gaze of Dutch UN soldiers, men and women who remained in Srebrenica were separated into columns in scenes reminiscent of the nazi holocaust. The women and children were herded onto buses and exiled from their homes. They left everything, including most of their men, behind. Many were murdered, raped or beaten. Meanwhile men and boys were led away and massacred at execution sites or killed trying to escape.

The two Bosnian women are representatives of Zene Srebrenica (Women of Srebrenica) which formed during the Bosnian war to help the sick and wounded. In appalling conditions they took care of the social, health and hygiene problems of a town overflowing with refugees. Since the fall of this UN designated "safe haven" the organisation now pressurises the authorities to trace the missing persons, exhume mass graves and bring to justice those responsible for the extermination of these people.

The women will be speaking at the Deaf Centre, University Precinct from 8pm on Tuesday 25 November. The TGWU 6/389 branch will be hosting the meeting.

Martin Ralph, Workers Aid for Bosnia (707 1584) / Audrey Smith TGWU 6/389 (445 8308)