On the 20th October 2013, shocking headlinesflashed through the media: "Animals were killed near the police station in Kalinovik and carcasses of animals killed were not removed even a few hours after the commission of the offense." This is just one of many horrific incidents reported by animal welfare groups throughout Bosnia.
After almost 35 years, it appears the international community is at last understanding that countering discrimination against women in economic spheres is key to fighting poverty. The benefits that are brought by investing in women are evident not only in the confidence that we see in the women that we work with, but also in the impact that it has on their families and their communities.
Today we mark the anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide and offer our thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families. The events that took place on this day 18 years ago began a chain of events that led to the deaths of over 8,000 men and boys and the forced removal of 30,000 women and girls. The horror and the barbarism perpetrated in and around Srebrenica in the days that followed 11 July evoked the darkest days of the Second World War; days many hoped would never be repeated in Europe.
We can only hope and pray for the best in Syria, but perhaps for Belarus we can do something more. The sanctions against South Africa worked. The regime changed. Two decades later Nelson Mandela, 27 years a political prisoner, is now, as he lies in hospital, the hallowed former President and father of the Rainbow Nation South Africa became.
When a 14 year old Irish girl was raped and became pregnant in 1992, nobody knew that the shockwaves would still be rippling 20 years later. This week, the 'Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill' is navigating the Irish Parliament. If successful, abortion, where there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother, may soon be legalised in Ireland.
Last Wednesday on 11 July, I was in Srebrenica for the very first time. The above is the main prayer that I heard from the outgoing Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina Dr Mustafa Ceric in this year's commemoration of the Srebrenica Genocide in 1995. His sermon in front of grieving families and tens of thousands of people at Potocari Memorial Park was about rebuilding Bosnia and rekindling hope. The Srebrenica Genocide was Europe's largest massacre since World War II.
In an attempt to down-scale the horrific, unacceptable act of genocide committed by Serbian Troops in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where more than 8000 Muslim men and boys were massacred some 17 years ago, Serbia's new President Tomislav Nikolic, said last month that the killings in Srebrenica constituted "grave war crimes" but not genocide.